Second in four of his five starts over hurdles, NEW YEAR'S EVE is surely up to winning a race like this. Alphabetical Order and John Reel make their hurdling debuts but both were decent performers in bumpers, though not in the same league as the selection who was second in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham 18 months ago. Minellaforlunch has ability but needs further than this.
Alphabetical Order 33-1 (11-4) Always towards rear, tailed off 5f out, last of 19, well behind Killyglass (11-4) at Aintree 2m 1f nat hunt flat Grade 2 (1) gs in Apr.
John Reel (FR) 2-1fav (10-12) Took keen hold, tracked leaders on inside, lost place 5f out, soon closed again, went 2nd 3f out, every chance over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, no impression on winner final 100 yards, 2nd of 10, 2 1/4l behind Sergeant Thunder (10-12) at Ludlow 2m NH flat (5) gd in Apr.
Minellaforlunch (IRE) 14-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, headway and in touch when slipped up on bend before 4 out, in a race won by Creepy (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd, 14 ran.
New Year's Eve 5-4fav (11-0) Kept away from others before start, led, mistakes 5th and 3 out, ridden and headed 2 out, no extra flat, 2nd of 6, 9l behind Beachfire (10-11) at Huntingdon 2m mdn hdl (4) gd in Aug.