Kempton scorer Dodging Bullets is only a five-year-old and has plenty of scope. But RAYA STAR was probably the better hurdler and showed plenty of courage to see off the well-regarded Tanerko Emery on his chasing bow at Uttoxeter. The better ground here should be in his favour and Alan King's charge can double his tally over the larger obstacles. Ted Veale won the County Hurdle at last year's Festival and was fourth in the Ebor in August. Tony Martin's gelding is clearly versatile and should handle fences but My Brother Sylvest and The Cockney Mackem are already exposed and the latter finished a well beaten fourth here on Friday.
My Brother Sylvest 20-1 (11-6) Led and soon clear, reduced lead 4th, reached for 6th, mistake and headed 8th, weakened quickly soon after, tailed off, 13th of 15, well behind Drumshambo (11-4) at Ascot 2m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs.
Dodging Bullets 8-11fav (11-2) Held up tracking leading pair, went left 1st, dropped to 4th at 6th, smooth headway to challenge before led 3 out, left in command next, won at Kempton 2m beg chs (4) gd in Oct beating Turn Over Sivola (11-2) by 4l, 5 ran.
Raya Star (IRE) Evensfav (11-2) Took keen hold, tracked leader, led 3rd, joined 3 out, shaken up briefly soon after, narrowly headed 2 out, led again between last 2, pressed last, stayed on well flat and always holding on, won at Uttoxeter 2m beg chs (4) sft beating Tanerko Emery (11-2) by 1/2l, 3 ran.
Ted Veale (IRE) 7-2fav (11-3) Settled behind leaders, 7th halfway, 5th 3 out, 4th 2 out, ridden and no extra entering straight, kept on one pace, 8th of 20, 14l behind Missunited (10-8) at Galway 2m hcp hdl sft in Aug.
The Cockney Mackem (IRE) 14-1 (11-7) Held up, headway 6th, mistake 9th, weakened after 3 out, left remote 2nd when fell 2 out, in a race won by Dark Lover (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m nov chs (2) gs in Oct, 6 ran.