DIAMOND KING suffered a shock defeat when long odds-on at Bangor last time but would have won had he not crashed through the last and almost come down. That was his first defeat in four starts under Rules and Donald McCain's promising novice can bounce back here granted a clear round. New Year's Eve, a top-class performer in bumpers, took six attempts to get off the mark over hurdles and then turned in a shocker when favourite for a handicap at Musselburgh last time. He's best watched again here as he may have his own ideas about the game. Themanfrom Minella and Uppingham both tackle hurdles for the first time and may need further in time. But they are worth monitoring for further reference and preferred to Vermouth Bleu and Viacometti of the others.
Diamond King (IRE) 2-7fav (11-5) Tracked leaders in 3rd, pushed along 3 out, led 2 out, ridden before and blundered badly last, soon headed and not recover, one pace towards finish, 3rd of 15, 2 1/4l behind Masquerade (10-9) at Bangor 2m 1f nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
New Year's Eve 7-2fav (10-9) Held up towards rear and keen, never dangerous, 8th of 14, 33l behind Strongpoint (11-2) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl (2) sft.
Daylan (IRE) 11-2 (11-0) Close up, ridden over 3f out, weakened over 1f out, 7th of 14, 23l behind Seldom Inn (11-0) at Newcastle 2m NH flat (6) gd in Dec.
First Lad 20-1 (12-0) Held up; lost tch 9; pu 12, in a race won by Big Ed (12-0) at Fitzwilliam (Milton) 2m 4f ptp gd in May, 13 ran.
Grand Gigolo (FR) 100-1 (10-12) Towards rear, struggling before 5 out, 13th of 15, well behind Masquerade (10-9) at Bangor 2m 1f nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
I Got Power 3-1 (11-4) Keen early, mid-division, chased leaders over 4f out to over 2f out, soon weakened, tailed off, 6th of 10, 42l behind Beatu (11-4) at Catterick 2m NH flat (6) gd in Dec.
Themanfrom Minella (IRE) 20-1 (11-4) Took keen hold chasing leaders, went 2nd inside final 6f until over 4f out, chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, weakened soon after, 6th of 9, 12l behind Seven Nation Army (11-4) at Ascot 2m Listed NH flat (1) sft in Dec.
Trillerin Minella (IRE) 16-1 (11-0) Always behind, 11th of 14, 44l behind Call The Cops (11-0) at Towcester 2m mdn hdl (5) sft in Dec.
Uppingham 5-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear and keen, headway over 3f out, ridden over 2f out, kept on same pace and no chance with clear pair, 3rd of 8, 12l behind Stellar Notion (11-2) at Bangor 2m 1f NH flat (6) gs in Dec.
Vermouth Bleu (FR) 40-1 (11-0) Mid-division, outpaced 3 out, never near leaders, 7th of 14, 25l behind Call The Cops (11-0) at Towcester 2m mdn hdl (5) sft in Dec.
Viacometti (FR) 100-1 (11-0) Not always fluent, in touch, pushed along and weakened after 4 out, 17th of 22, well behind Josses Hill (11-0) at Newbury 2m mdn hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Ifits A Fiddle 20-1 (10-5) Always behind, pulled up, in a race won by Captain Cutter (10-12) at Kempton 2m 5f nov hdl (4) gs in Nov, 9 ran.