Dont Back Down is definitely improving and beat a decent performer in Lord Gale at Fairyhouse where the testing conditions were a big help. He's certain to be in the shake-up but SYDNEY PAGET may have his measure. Donald McCain's charge, a bumper and novice hurdle winner, made the Cheltenham-bound Knock A Hand pull out all the stops at Haydock and should be good enough to see off the Irish challenger. Becausewecan has been fading at the business end but two runs should have put him straight and he's no forlorn hope to gain his first hurdling success. Higgs Boson was runner-up in a 4-runner race over the C&D on his racecourse debut and will need to jump much better.
Dont Back Down (IRE) 10-3 (11-9) Prominent and led from before 2nd, ridden and strongly pressed 2 out, joined at last, led narrowly run-in and kept on best under pressure, won at Fairyhouse 2m 4f mdn hdl sft in Jan beating Lord Gale (11-12) by nk, 6 ran.
Sydney Paget (IRE) 9-4 (11-5) Raced in 3rd after 1st, closed to chase winner approaching last and only 1 length down at hurdle, no impression towards finish, 2nd of 6, 3l behind Knock A Hand (11-12) at Haydock 2m 4f nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Becausewecan (USA) 9-1 (11-5) Chased leader, led 2nd until mistake and headed 3 out, chased leader until mistake 2 out, weakened soon after, blundered last, 3rd of 13, 17l behind Nagpur (11-5) at Lingfield 2m 3f mdn hdl (5) sft in Jan.
Four Fiddlers (IRE) 14-1 (10-5) Mid-division, mistake and unseated rider 1st, in a race won by Rowdy Rocher (10-12) at Kelso 2m 6f nov hdl (4) gd in Nov, 13 ran.
Higgs Boson 20-1 (11-2) Tracked leaders in 3rd, reminders after 7th, soon struggling, left poor 2nd from last, 2nd of 4, 13l behind Nuts N Bolts (11-8) at Ayr 2m 4f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) sft in Jan.
Hooky's Diamond 100-1 (10-9) Held up mid-division, effort before 2 out, never dangerous, 5th of 9, 31l behind Tap Night (11-5) at Newcastle 2m 4f nov hdl (4) sft.
Mitchell's Way 100-1 (11-5) Held up mid-division, no impression when blundered 3 out, 4th of 16, 18l behind Countess Comet (10-12) at Catterick 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Jan.