ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR beat the re-opposing Fox Norton only a neck on his hurdling bow but has improved since then. He remains unbeaten over timber having landed a Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham last month and is the one to beat. Recent Musselburgh winner, Dispour, is going the right way but has plenty to find with the selection on today's terms, while both Broughton and Zamoyski are even harder to fancy in this company. The German raider Cafe Au Lait finished runner-up at Warwick last month and will need a big step up on that to get the better of Nicky Henderson's charge.
Fox Norton (FR) 5-1 (11-6) Mid-division, headway and in touch 4th, led approaching 2 out, 2 lengths clear and driven when not fluent last, soon ridden, hard pressed flat, headed final stride, 2nd of 10, nk behind Royal Irish Hussar (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 1f 3yo hdl (2) gd in Sep.
Royal Irish Hussar (IRE) 10-11fav (11-6) Led, headed narrowly 2nd, led again 3 out, 1 length clear when not fluent last, ridden and stayed on well flat, won at Cheltenham 2m 3yo hdl Grd 2 (1) gd in Nov beating Guitar Pete (11-6) by 4l, 7 ran.
Dispour (IRE) 3-10fav (11-5) Tended to jump left, made virtually all, pressed when went left last, soon ridden, stayed on to go clear flat, won at Musselburgh 2m 3yo hdl (4) gd in Nov beating Thorpe (10-7) by 4l, 3 ran.
Broughton (GER) 28-1 (8-9) Chased leaders, lost place well over 3f out, eased over 1f out, 12th of 13, 24l behind Seussical (9-0) at York 1m 2f (2) gd in Oct (flat).
Cafe Au Lait (GER) 11-4 (10-12) Not fluent 1st, chased winner from 2nd, ridden after 3 out, no impression when jumped left last 2, stayed on same pace, 2nd of 6, 6l behind Herod The Great (11-5) at Warwick 2m 3yo hdl (4) gs in Nov.
Zamoyski 2-11fav (10-12) Keen led, hit 5th, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, kept on same pace, 3rd of 5, 12l behind Tiger Roll (10-9) at Market Rasen 2m 1f 3yo hdl (4) sft in Nov.