Francois Doumen's Spiv has disappointed so far and looks best left out of calculations in a race that looks a match between ADVISOR and Barwell Bridge with preference for the former. The selection was a capable performer on the level for Michael Bell rated in the mid 70s but seemingly showed improved form once switched to hurdles with a comfortable success on his first start for Paul Nicholls when landing a novices' hurdle on soft ground at Newbury last month in good fashion. A reproduction of the form that he showed that day should see him follow up. Alan King's Ebiayn was rated higher than Advisor on the flat but was well held on his hurdling debut and now looks best watched, while Emma Lavelle's Heez A Cracker faces no easy task on his racecourse debut. The Warren Greatrex-trained Barwell Bridge showed a decent level of form on the level for Sylvester Kirk and was good value for his win at Ffos Las on his hurdling debut last month. The softer ground today is a slight concern for the son of Red Ransom though and with ground conditions ideal for Advisor, he looks the one to be on.
Dark Oasis 4-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders,ridden after 3 out, soon outpaced, kept on from last, no impression, 3rd of 6, 4 1/2l behind Screaming Brave (10-12) at Leicester 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Prince Pippin (IRE) 12-1 (11-1) Disputed lead until after 1st, prominent, joined winner 5th until 2 out, 3rd and beaten when mistake last, weakened flat, 3rd of 7, 21l behind Royal Mix (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) gs in Nov.
Advisor (FR) 7-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, 2nd approaching 2 out, challenging and half a length down last, led soon after, came clear run-in, driven out, won at Newbury 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) sft in Dec beating Rougham (11-5) by 6l, 12 ran.
Barwell Bridge 6-4fav (10-12) Tracked leading pair, led going well 3 out, hit 2 out, drew clear soon after, easily, won at Ffos Las 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gs in Dec beating Causeway King (11-5) by 6l, 8 ran.
Alhaque (USA) 8-11fav (9-3) Mid-division, under pressure over 2f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 3rd of 8, 10l behind Buxted (9-3) at Lingfield 1m 4f mdn stks (5) pol (flat).
Ebiayn (FR) 12-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, pushed along and headway approaching 2 out, weakened before last, 6th of 11, 19l behind Olofi (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (2) sft in Dec.
Heez A Cracker (FR) Goldneyev gelding out of Jolly Harbour.
Spiv (FR) (10-7) 98th of 20, 34l behind Filitheyo (10-7) at Auteuil(FR) 2m 2f clm hdl hvy in Nov.