African Gold hasn't really taken to fences and it's no surprise to see the formerly useful novice back over hurdles. Seymour Eric and Who Owns Me are others who have been chasing lately but Ascot scorer Bygones Sovereign must have a chance. The longer trip shouldn't be a problem and, though 4lb wrong in the weights, Kieron Edgar claims a valuable 7lb. DROP OUT JOE, representing last year's winning trainer, is worth a second look having only given best close home when trying to give Warden Hill 6lb at Doncaster. A mark of 129 looks manageable on his handicap debut and he'll be helped by Kielan Woods' claim. Oscar Fortune also tackles handicap company for the first time but his stable has been going through a lean spell and Haydock fourth Ballyculla is probably in the assessor's grip now. Cyrien Star was chasing a four-timer when odds-on at Uttoxeter last month but didn't appear to handle the heavy going and conditions here will be similar.
African Gold (IRE) 1-2fav (11-1) Tracked leaders, went 2nd from 11th until 12th and again from 13th, shaken up to move upsides when fell 3 out, in a race won by Milborough (11-1) at Uttoxeter 3m nov chs (4) sft in Dec, 8 ran.
Grand Vision (IRE) 4-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, hit 9th, weakened after 3 out, pulled up before last, in a race won by Return Spring (10-13) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) sft, 9 ran.
Seymour Eric 7-2fav (11-12) Tracked leading pair, driven and lost place 11th, soon behind, tailed off when pulled up after 3 out (usual 4 out), in a race won by Relax (11-8) at Ffos Las 3m 1f hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Dec, 7 ran.
Ballyculla (IRE) 11-2 (11-4) Close up, led 2nd, headed 4 out, weakened 2 out, 4th of 9, 25l behind Sausalito Sunrise (11-1) at Haydock 3m hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Dec.
Uncle Jimmy (IRE) 25-1 (11-5) Mid-division, headway 4 out, chased leaders when hampered next, switched inside and effort approaching last, chased leading pair flat, no impression when lost 3rd near finish, 4th of 20, 3 1/2l behind Thomas Crapper (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gd in Nov.
Oscar Fortune (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Tracked leader, hit 3rd, not fluent next, pushed along after 3 out, ridden and outpaced when edged right approaching 2 out, soon beaten, 4th of 5, 17l behind Killala Quay (11-4) at Sandown 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Dec.
Cyrien Star 5-6fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, lost place 4 out, weakened and pulled up after next, in a race won by Woodford County (11-12) at Uttoxeter 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) hvy in Dec, 11 ran.
Drop Out Joe 8-1 (11-10) Led, pressed from 3 out, ridden run-in, caught post, 2nd of 6, 1/2l behind Warden Hill (11-4) at Doncaster 3m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Dec.
Billy Twyford (IRE) 16-1 (11-9) In touch, effort 3 out, weakened before next, 5th of 12, 21l behind Junction Fourteen (11-3) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Dec.
Who Owns Me (IRE) 6-1 (11-4) Tracked leading pair on outside, close up when fell 9th, in a race won by Gorgehous Lliege (10-10) at Towcester 3m hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec, 5 ran.
Tidal Dance (IRE) 7-2 (11-3) Led, not fluent 9th, headed approaching 3 out, no extra flat, 4th of 9, 25l behind Southfield Theatre (11-3) at Exeter 2m 7f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Bygones Sovereign (IRE) 7-1 (10-8) Made all, clear 3 out until driven next, joined and edged left approaching last, strongly pressed when edged left final 50 yards, held on gamely, won at Ascot 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Dec beating Andy Kelly (11-3) by nk, 12 ran.