CHESIL BEACH BOY has been raised 9lb for last month's win over C&D under today's rider. John Coombe's charge won by five lengths, however, and today's rivals will need to improve on their form to date to prevent him following up. Argaum may do so though both hurdle wins last year came on fast ground, while Rigid will find this tougher than the race he won at Uttoxeter last time off an 8lb lower mark. Spirit D'Armor is a bumper winner on soft ground, but he'll need a big step up on his efforts over hurdles if he's to trouble the selection.
Spirit D'armor (FR) 28-1 (10-12) Held up in touch, every chance 2 out, weakened flat, 6th of 16, 18l behind Prospect Wells (10-12) at Chepstow 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Chesil Beach Boy 7-1 (11-5) Held up, headway halfway, led last, pushed out, won at Wincanton 2m nov hcp hdl 0-100 (5) sft in Dec beating Anay Turge (10-4) by 5l, 12 ran.
Argaum (IRE) 3-1fav (10-8) Held up towards rear, headway 3 out, kept on same pace, 4th of 8, 9l behind Not Til Monday (11-2) at Leicester 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Nov.
Minella Special (IRE) 7-2 (12-0) Tr ldrs, 6th 1/2way, sl mstkes 6th & & 7th, sn wknd, pu 2out, in a race won by Barnlands Boy (12-0) at Ballydarragh 3m ire ptp gs in Nov, 16 ran.
Rigid 25-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 3rd, led approaching 3 out, edged left after next, headed last, led again flat, all out, won at Uttoxeter 2m Conditional Novice Handicap Hurdle (0-95) (3yo+) (5) sft in Dec beating Only Hope (11-10) by nk, 7 ran.
Wine 'n Dine 4-1 (10-13) Held up, headway after 3 out, chasing leaders on outside and hung left from 2 out, went modest 3rd before and blundered last, 3rd of 8, 11l behind Langley (10-6) at Ffos Las 2m hcp hdl 0-105 (4) hvy in Dec.
Holden Caulfield (IRE) 33-1 (10-10) Tracked leaders, challenged before 2 out, ridden before last, kept on, 3rd of 11, 4 1/2l behind Mauritino (10-13) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd in Apr.