Alan King has a 22% strike-rate with his runners here, one that returns a level-stakes profit, and he can enhance that figure further with PANTXOA. The gelding arrives to make his debut for the yard following a facile Clairefontaine success and although penalised for that the 40/1 quotes about him winning the Triumph Hurdle suggest he may have a class advantage over these. With Guppy's Girl, Big Talk, Omaruru and Claimant having shown little or nothing so far the biggest challenge will surely come from a hurdling debutant, perhaps Rigid. He's a maiden having failed to win on the level but stayed a mile well and could sneak a place along with Dragon's Den, whose two-year-old flat efforts in Ireland advertise the fact he has some ability, while stamina won't be an issue.
Pantxoa (FR) (10-1) won at Clairefontaine(FR) 2m hdl gs in Jul beating Gran Torino (10-1) by 2l, 18 ran.
Big Talk 50-1 (10-12) Led until 2nd, soon chasing leaders, jumped badly right 5th, soon lost place, tailed off, 7th of 8, well behind Jubail (10-12) at Kempton 2m juv hdl (3) gd in Oct.
Claimant (IRE) 50-1 (10-12) Always in rear, tailed off when unseated rider 6th, in a race won by Zakeeta (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f juv hdl (4) gs in Oct, 14 ran.
Dragon's Den (IRE) 11-2 (9-4) Led, ridden 3f out, headed under 2f out, soon no impression, 7th of 12, 10l behind Maal (10-2) at Sligo 1m 2f clm stks gf in Jun (flat).
Jolly Roger (IRE) 25-1 (8-6) Held up in rear, headway over 2f out, ridden to lead over 1f out, hard ridden and under pressure inside final furlong, held on well towards finish, won at Redcar 1m 2f sell stks (5) gs in Oct beating Resplendent Light (9-0) by 1 3/4l, 13 ran (flat).
Omaruru (IRE) 14-1 (10-12) Raced keenly, tracked leaders, lost place after 4 out, weakened before 2 out, tailed off, 11th of 12, well behind Joan D'Arc (10-5) at Huntingdon 2m juv hdl (4) gd in Oct.
Penshurst Lad (IRE) 33-1 (8-7) Dwelt, always behind, 13th of 14, well behind Aaman (8-13) at Catterick 1m 6f hcp 0-60 (6) gd in Oct (flat).
Rigid 3-1 (8-13) Towards rear, headway over 2f out, ridden over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 6th of 10, 7l behind Embra (8-11) at Kempton 6f hcp 0-52 (6) pol in Oct (flat).
Steely Bird 50-1 (7-11) Held up mid-division, pushed along over 3f out, weakened over 2f out, 11th of 14, 30l behind Dubai Phantom (8-11) at Kempton 2m hcp (0-65) (6) pol in Sep (flat).
Guppy's Girl (IRE) 18-1 (10-5) Took keen hold, tracking leaders when mistake and saddle slipped 1st, went right and ran off course and pulled up after next, in a race won by Until The Man (10-12) at Wincanton 2m 3yo mdn hdl (4) gf in Oct, 5 ran.
If I Were A Boy (IRE) 28-1 (9-3) In touch, effort on wide outside 2f out, soon ridden and weakened over 1f out, last of 9, 24l behind Dynamic Drive (9-8) at Bath 1m 5f hcp 0-80 (4) gd in Oct (flat).