With the ground against Special Occassion and Rupestrian's stamina a concern we'll take PSYCHOMONDO to oblige for Brendan Powell. Our selection has been pulled up the last twice so is far from bomb-proof but both those efforts were over fences in good company and we're hopeful this return to hurdling does the trick. He won a handicap over the larger obstacles off this mark in November so looks very nicely weighted and is at his best when racing over this sort of trip and in a tricky race to solve he's worth chancing. Special Occassion won well at Taunton in December and remains unexposed having had just the seven starts. He can be forgiven an average run in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham last time but we've our concerns that he needs plenty of juice in the ground and with the sun shining in Wales that looks unlikely, so despite the fact we're sure he can win races off 130 today may not be the day. Similarly, Rupestrian can be forgiven for a poor run when set a stiff task at Cheltenham last time and he absolutely mopped up on good ground last autumn before the best novices came out. He's rated 132 for this handicap debut and that appears fair, but he does need it quick and furthermore hasn't yet raced over this trip so there are enough reasons to oppose Tim Vaughan's runner. Oscar Bay is really well handicapped on the pick of his hurdles form but he was well held last time and has questions to answer now, Chinara has claims dropping in trip but on balance this mare has enough weight and may be better over three whilst Lead On is another who is well-in on past form but arrives under a cloud. Karanja returns from a lengthy absence and needs a market check but in a race with more questions than answers we'll side with Psychomondo.
Psychomodo 40-1 (11-4) In rear and tailed off when pulled up before 15th, in a race won by Monkerhostin (11-5) at Sandown 3m hcp chs (2) gs in Feb, 13 ran.
Oscar Bay (IRE) 16-1 (11-12) Towards rear, reminder approaching 6th, weakened approaching 4 out, tailed off, left poor 4th 3 out, 4th of 8, 19l behind Bertie May (10-7) at Exeter 2m 7f hcp hdl (2) gs in Feb.
Special Occasion 66-1 (10-2) Towards rear, outpaced after 3 out, never dangerous, 18th of 24, well behind Buena Vista (10-1) at Cheltenham 3m lstd hcp hdl (1) gs in Mar.
Karanja 7-1 (9-11) Tracked leaders, mistake 16th, ridden after 17th, weakened approaching 3 out, pulled up before last, in a race won by Joe Lively (10-3) at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Nov '08, 10 ran.
Rupestrian 40-1 (11-0) Mid-division, outpaced 3 out, soon weakened, behind when pulled up before last, in a race won by Soldatino (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo nov hdl G1 (1) gd in Mar, 17 ran.
Lead On (IRE) 9-1 (11-10) In touch, hit and lost place 4th, headway 4 out, soon chasing leaders, weakened next, 10th of 12, 34l behind Alderluck (11-12) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in Mar.
No Principles 25-1 (10-13) Always in rear, not fluent 2nd, behind from 5th, hanging right on bend approaching 2 out, tailed off, 11th of 14, well behind Peveril (11-5) at Warwick 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) hvy in Feb.
Chinara (IRE) 22-1 (10-0) Tracked leader, led after 6th to next, remained with leader, ridden and every chance approaching 2 out, stayed on gamely to lead flat, won at Worcester 3m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Aug beating Olmeto Collonges (10-0) by 2 1/4l, 8 ran.
Stripe Me Blue 15-2 (9-10) Tracked leader, led 5th to after next, in touch, ridden and effort approaching 2 out, soon weakened, 7th of 15, 19l behind Mith Hill (10-5) at Bangor 3m hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gs in Mar.