Hodgson was beaten less than two lengths at Haydock on his latest start and that form looks better than Last Shot's run behind Handtheprizeover at Wincanton earlier this month. Both make more appeal than the disappointing Captain Scarlett, however, while most of the others need to step up on recent form to play a part. BENDANT is an exception as he ran well for a long way on his reappearance in a Hereford handicap and will strip fitter here. A winner twice over hurdles last season, this looks a good chance to open his account over the larger obstacles.
Bendant 11-4 (10-11) Tracked leader, not fluent 2nd or 5th, hampered 7th, not fluent and weakened from next, 4th of 7, 23l behind Drumshambo (11-12) at Hereford 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft.
Captain Scarlett (IRE) 12-1 (11-6) Always in rear, tailed off 13th, 7th of 8, well behind Handtheprizeover (11-9) at Wincanton 2m 5f cond hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft.
Hodgson (IRE) 16-1 (11-2) Towards rear and in touch, went 2nd from 5 out, challenging when mistake 4 out, every chance 3 out, kept on from last, always held towards finish, 2nd of 6, 1 3/4l behind Noble Legend (11-3) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Oct.
Hollow Heartbeat (IRE) 14-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, ridden 6th, weakened approaching 3 out, tailed off, 14th of 17, well behind Themanfromfraam (10-10) at Worcester 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gd in May.
Last Shot (FR) 6-1 (11-9) Chased leaders, went 3rd approaching 10th, chased winner 4 out, led 2 out, soon ridden, headed and no extra flat, 2nd of 8, 1 1/4l behind Handtheprizeover (11-9) at Wincanton 2m 5f cond hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft.
Material Boy 40-1 (11-0) Mid-division, reminder after 6th, behind 10th, tailed off, 11th of 15, well behind Balbriggan (11-3) at Bangor 2m 4f beg chs (4) gs in Oct.
Presented (IRE) 9-1 (11-8) Chased leaders, weakened 8th, losing place when mistake next, tailed off and pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Purcell's Bridge (10-9) at Wetherby 2m 6f cond nov hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gs in Nov, 14 ran.
Victor Echo (IRE) 10-1 (11-2) Held up in rear, mistakes, tailed off 12th, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Carrigmorna King (11-2) at Ludlow 2m 4f beg chs (4) sft in Nov, 9 ran.
Cuban Piece (IRE) 15-2 (10-2) Ridden and several stages through race, prominent, led after 2nd, headed 4th, led 6th until not fluent 8th, led 11th, headed next, weakened after 14th, tailed off, 5th of 6, well behind Beggar's Velvet (11-12) at Uttoxeter 3m nov hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd in Sep.