Santo Thomas didn't find much for pressure when well backed at Hereford last Wednesday but the better ground here may help his cause. The four-year-old UGO is possibly more progressive, however, and gets the nod. Evan Williams' charge carries a penalty for last week's win at Exeter but the slightly longer trip is probably in his favour and he should be up to the task. True Blue ran his best race so far behind Alba King at Sedgefield and the winner has been placed in better company since - he should also make the frame.
Santo Thomas (FR) 5-2fav (11-9) Prominent, headway before 3 out, ridden to challenge before last, every chance run-in, no extra towards finish, 2nd of 6, 1 1/4l behind Savant Bleu (11-3) at Hereford 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs.
Tiradia (FR) 50-1 (11-1) Held up towards rear, went right 4th, headway 3 out, weakened approaching next, 5th of 11, 16l behind Destroyer Deployed (11-1) at Southwell 2m 4f NH mdn hdl (4) gs in Mar.
True Blue (IRE) 7-2 (11-5) Prominent, went 2nd approaching 4th until approaching 3 out, chased winner after 3 out, stayed on same pace last, 2nd of 5, 2 1/2l behind Alba King (9-7) at Sedgefield 2m 1f NH Novice Handicap Hurdle (0-105) (4yo+) (4) gd in Mar.
Raifteiri (IRE) 9-1 (11-4) Last pair, ridden before 6th, poor 6th when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Spirit D'armor (11-12) at Huntingdon 2m 4f NH Novice Handicap Hurdle (0-105) (4yo+) (4) sft in Jan, 8 ran.
Court Gamble (IRE) 13-2 (11-11) Mistake 1st, well off the pace towards rear, never on terms, tailed off when mistake 9th, pulled up soon after, in a race won by Mon Chevalier (11-5) at Wincanton 2m hcp chs 0-105 (4) gs in Mar, 8 ran.
Ugo (USA) 4-1 (10-2) Held up in touch, took closer order 4 out, led last, drew clear flat, easily, won at Exeter 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gf beating Jive Master (11-6) by 7l, 5 ran.
Bilbo Boggart (IRE) 40-1 (10-4) Held up in touch, ridden 3 out, no impression, 6th of 14, 28l behind Rock Relief (11-0) at Newcastle 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Oscar Baby (IRE) 25-1 (10-2) Always towards rear, ridden and struggling 5th, tailed off, 11th of 17, 49l behind Netherby (10-11) at Lingfield 2m NH mdn hdl (5) gs in Feb.