Ballyclough followed a shock bumper victory at Haydock in March with a smooth debut success over timber at Folkestone. He looks certain to improve again but will need to if he's to see off MAGNIFIQUE ETOILE, who could hardly have been more impressive in his victories in a Market Rasen bumper and a maiden over timber at Stratford which he won by 13 length. The latter gets the vote though both carry penalties here and Little Fritz is likely to make a bold bid with his allowance. Nicky Henderson's charge has cost his supporters dearly in two bumpers, however, where he has looked short of pace. This should be his game and he rates a threat alongside Flicka Williams, who will be better for a recent run in a Musselburgh bumper.
Ballyclough (IRE) Evensfav (11-0) Took keen hold early, held up in last, not fluent 2nd, headway after 2 out, led last, readily, won at Folkestone 2m 1f NH Maiden Hurdle (4-6yo) (5) gd in Nov beating Arbeo (11-0) by 2l, 5 ran.
Magnifique Etoile 4-9fav (11-0) Made virtually all, not fluent 2nd, drew well clear when not fluent 2 out, heavily eased flat (no time taken), won at Stratford 2m mdn hdl (4) gf in Oct beating Dark Shadow (11-0) by 13l, 8 ran.
Ali Baba 25-1 (10-12) In touch, outpaced and lost place approaching 4 out, stayed on again to 5th approaching 2 out, one pace when not fluent last 2, 5th of 15, 8l behind Sole Survivor (10-12) at Warwick 2m nov hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Amron Lad (IRE) 14-1 (11-0) Chased leader, ridden 3f out, lost 2nd under pressure over 2f out, weakened inside final 2f, 8th of 14, 28l behind Population (11-2) at Ascot 2m NH flat (6) gd in Nov.
Billy Merriott (IRE) 3-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, tracked leading pair, went 2nd 4th, led briefly before 4 out, blundered and lost 2nd 3 out, weakened soon after, 7th of 9, well behind Grabtheglory (10-12) at Kempton 2m 5f nov hdl (4) gd in Oct.
Cousin Khee 20-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, tailed off 3 out, 8th of 12, 49l behind It's A Gimme (11-0) at Newbury 2m NH mdn hdl (3) gs in Nov.
Flicka Williams (IRE) 9-4 (11-2) Tracked leaders, pushed along 6f out, nipped through on inside to lead 5f out, ridden, bumped and headed 2f out, weakened final furlong, 3rd of 8, 10l behind Nodda High Kid (10-9) at Musselburgh 2m mdn NH flat (5) gd in Nov.
Future Profit (IRE) 20-1 (10-12) Mid-division, headway 4th, hampered 4 out, soon weakened, 13th of 16, 31l behind Prospect Wells (10-12) at Chepstow 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Little Fritz (FR) 11-10fav (10-10) Raced wide, held up in touch, steady headway 5f out, chased winner 3f out, ridden over 2f out, one pace and dropped to 3rd final furlong, 3rd of 7, 3 1/2l behind Real Milan (11-3) at Hereford 2m 1f NH flat (6) gs in Mar.
Orangeaday 20-1 (11-0) Held up, effort under pressure over 2f out, no impression on leaders over 1f out, 5th of 8, 11l behind Clondaw Warrior (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m NH flat (4) gf in Oct.
Orlittlebylittle 33-1 (10-9) Mid-division, struggling after 6th, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Stolen Thunder (10-12) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f nov hdl (4) hvy in Oct '10, 11 ran.
Velator 25-1 (10-7) Behind, mistake 2nd, jumped slowly next, never dangerous, 12th of 14, 50l behind Trip The Light (10-12) at Plumpton 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft.
Whistling Senator (IRE) 33-1 (10-12) In touch, mistake 4th, soon lost place, weakened after next, tailed off, 6th of 8, well behind Phoenix Flight (11-5) at Leicester 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs.
Cherry Vine 8-1 (10-3) Prominent, led over 5f out, headed over 3f out, soon weakened, 6th of 8, 17l behind Scholastica (11-3) at Bangor 2m 1f mares n h flat (6) gs in Nov.