Pure Faith and Brunswick Gold both had alternative engagements here yesterday but this may still prove an informative contest. Astracad stayed on well to score on his chasing bow at Perth but Champion Court was travelling strongly on his heels when coming to grief at the third-last. With a clear round, Martin Keighley's charge may be able to have his revenge on 5lb better terms but could find BEAR'S AFFAIR a tough nut to crack. Still unbeaten under Rules, Nicky Henderson's five-year-old beat Champion Court in a bumper at Uttoxeter a year ago and went on to win twice over timber. A full brother to winning chaser Free Gift, he should thrive over the larger obstacles and connections probably haven't got to the bottom of him yet. Saint Are is another who could benefit for the switch to fences.
Pure Faith (IRE) 20-1 (11-11) Prominent when mistake 1st and sprawled on landing, held up, outpaced by leaders from 4 out, no impression, 4th of 6, 14l behind Lancetto (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m nov chs (2) gf.
Astracad (FR) 5-2 (11-2) Took keen hold, pressed leader, led approaching 3 out, clear before last, easily, won at Perth 2m 4f nov chs (4) gs in Sep beating Blenheim Brook (11-2) by 8l, 6 ran.
Bear's Affair (IRE) 8-15fav (11-6) Tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd from 4th and mistake, led 2 out, ridden and pressed before last, soon left clear, won at Bangor 2m 1f nov hdl (4) gd in Mar beating Robello (10-7) by 35l, 6 ran.
Brunswick Gold (IRE) 16-1 (10-8) Rear of mid-division, ridden after 3 out, soon struggling, tailed off, 12th of 17, well behind Skint (10-12) at Sandown 2m 4f Novice Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (4-7yo) (1) gd in Mar.
Champion Court (IRE) 11-8fav (11-2) Held up, took keen hold, mistake 9th, closed after 4 out, close up when blundered and unseated rider next, in a race won by Astracad (11-2) at Perth 2m 4f nov chs (4) gs in Sep, 6 ran.
Saint Are (FR) 8-1 (11-10) Prominent and disputed lead, headed after 4 out, soon ridden and no extra, weakened, tailed off, 11th of 16, well behind Askanna (11-1) at Punchestown 3m nov hdl G2 (1) gd in May.
Dazakhee 13-2 (9-9) Slowly away, headway on inner over 1f out, ridden inside final furlong, kept on to take 2nd towards finish, 2nd of 10, 2l behind Shelovestobouggie (9-0) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f hcp (0-65) (6) pol (flat).