This is a tricky one as it is only a year since Copper Birch ran At Fisher's Cross to just over two lengths over 2m here. He won over 3m between the flags so the step up in trip should suit but RED DEVIL LADS was also a winning pointer and has more scope. Rebecca Curtis' charge may just have needed his first hurdles run at Newbury and can improve on that here. Gorsky Island was second over 3m1f at Southwell in December but Kaikias may need more time and Mountain Cliché hasn't been seen since winning a maiden point-to-point in Ireland last May.
Brave Encounter (IRE) 100-1 (10-13) Held up in rear, ridden and struggling after 5th, passed some well beaten horses from 2 out, no chance, 4th of 10, 49l behind Horizontal Speed (11-5) at Taunton 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) hvy in Jan.
Castletown (IRE) 40-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, carried left on bend after 2f, lost place over 6f out, soon well beaten, 5th of 11, 28l behind Justanother Muddle (11-0) at Chepstow 2m NH flat (5) hvy in Dec.
Clovers Boy 150-1 (11-0) Held up mid-division, weakened before 4 out, 11th of 15, well behind Royal Player (11-0) at Exeter 2m 5f mdn hdl (5) sft in Jan.
Copper Birch (IRE) 8-1 (10-10) Led narrowly to 4th, tracked leaders, effort on outside 4 out, ridden and one pace approaching last, no impression flat, 4th of 7, 11l behind Cloudy Joker (10-8) at Ludlow 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Dec.
Driving Well (IRE) 50-1 (11-0) Raced on inside, chased winner until pushed along 7f out, lost place 6f out, tailed off, 9th of 11, 32l behind Call Me Vic (10-9) at Warwick 2m NH flat (6) sft in Dec.
Gorsky Island 4-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd at 10th, 3rd and ridden when switched inside after 2 out, stayed on to chase winner approaching last, no impression, 2nd of 8, 2 3/4l behind Walk On Al (10-12) at Southwell 3m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Kaikias (IRE) 40-1 (10-12) Tracked leader, not fluent 1st, with leader 6th, reminders before 3 out, ridden before 2 out, soon weakened, 5th of 6, 21l behind Tidal Dance (10-12) at Towcester 3m nov hdl (4) hvy in Jan.
Mountain Cliche (IRE) 6-1 (12-0) Cl up, ld brfly 4th, 3rd from 1/2way, 2nd 4out, chall 2out, mstk last & so best to ld under 50 yards, all out, won at Bartlemy 3m ire ptp sft in May beating The Jackdaw Roost (12-0) by 1 1/4l, 15 ran.
Red Devil Lads (IRE) 11-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, headway to lead 2nd, headed 3 out, chased leader until 2 out, well held in 3rd when mistake last, 3rd of 14, 13l behind Brother Brian (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) sft in Dec.
Spending Time 8-1 (10-9) Mid-division, went modest 5th 7th, stayed on approaching 2 out, closing on 2nd close home, no chance with winner, 3rd of 10, 42l behind Horizontal Speed (11-5) at Taunton 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) hvy in Jan.