The top jockeys are here despite it being early season and ACRAI RUA can take the opener at the expense of Nulato and Native Taipan. The former Irish pointer does have it to prove on this surface but he was not disgraced when second at Ludlow to Kennel Hill and would have been far worse off were this race a handicap. Nulato made no mistake in a weak maiden hurdle at Southwell. Somewhat unusually for a son of Turtle Island, he seems to appreciate decent ground. Native Taipan has to be respected with Tony McCoy riding for Rebecca Curtis. The market will tell us how fit he is on reappearance from a sizeable absence. Spirit of Adjisa was a progressive handicapper on the flat for Pat Eddery and while placed under this code previously, we are surprised at the decision to take a big step up in trip. Acrai Rua has lots to like about him and he is accordingly recommended.
Nulato (IRE) 11-4 (11-0) Close up,went 2nd after 3 out, led next, clear approaching last, won at Southwell 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd beating Horseshoe Reef (11-0) by 12l, 13 ran.
Acrai Rua (IRE) 11-1 (11-1) Led, pushed along approaching 3 out, ridden and headed last, weakened flat, 2nd of 7, 9l behind Kennel Hill (11-1) at Ludlow 3m nh nov hdl (4) sft.
Classic Bavard 66-1 (10-13) Mid-division, pushed along after 4th, behind next, tailed off, last of 11, well behind Monetary Fund (10-4) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs.
Dont Tell Baby (IRE) 2-1fav (10-11) Held up in rear, mistake 4 out, headway after 2 out, went 3rd flat, nearest finish, 3rd of 10, 2 1/4l behind Midnight Spirit (10-7) at Chepstow 2m NH mdn hdl (5) gf.
Native Taipan (IRE) 8-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, lost place halfway, stayed on again, 5th of 16, 14l behind Pause And Clause (11-2) at Chepstow 2m NH flat (6) gs in Nov '08.
Spirit of Adjisa (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) Held up in touch, mistake 6th, reminders next, went 3rd 4 out, ridden and effort 2 out, one pace last, 3rd of 7, 8l behind Finian's Rainbow (11-8) at Ascot 2m 3f nov hdl (3) gs in Feb.