Acrai Rua got off the mark over fences at Hereford in June but hasn't raced since and this may be a pipe-opener before he resumes over the larger obstacles. Saintly Lady raced a dozen times last year, finally getting off the mark in handicap company at Wetherby in November. She followed that up with a close third at Chepstow but is more exposed than DEFINITE DAWN. Tim Vaughan's gelding made the odds-on My Boy Paddy work hard for his success at Uttoxeter last time and was well clear of third Duke Of Ormond. He may have the edge in fitness over stable companion War Of The World, who will probably be back over fences in the near future, and gets the vote here.
Acrai Rua (IRE) 11-8fav (11-0) Tracked leaders in 3rd, swiched left to chase leader 4 out, challenged when blundered 2 out, hard ridden and hung right going to last, led soon after, held on well towards finish, won at Hereford 3m 1f beg chase (3) gf in Jun beating Viper (11-0) by 1 1/2l, 8 ran.
Ben Trovato (IRE) 100-1 (10-7) Chased leaders over 10f, last of 12, 50l behind Twentyfourcarat (11-0) at Ascot 2m NH flat (4) gs in Nov.
Definite Dawn (IRE) 12-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, tracked leader, led 4th until next, led 8th, ridden before 3 out, clear briefly approaching 2 out, headed when mistake last, stayed on same pace, 2nd of 8, 2 1/2l behind My Boy Paddy (10-9) at Uttoxeter 3m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Nov.
Duke Of Ormond (IRE) 40-1 (10-12) Mid-division, reminder after 4th, behind when mistake 7th, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by De Forgotten Man (10-12) at Towcester 2m 5f nh nov hdl (3) gs in Dec, 16 ran.
Front Street (IRE) 100-1 (10-7) Held up, ridden 8th, weakened next, tailed off, last of 6, 45l behind Teaforthree (10-12) at Ffos Las 3m nov hdl (4) gs in Nov.
Half Cocked 100-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, under pressure approaching 3 out, soon weakened, 6th of 12, 19l behind Jetnova (11-5) at Plumpton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Saintly Lady (IRE) 11-2 (10-5) Chased leaders, went 3rd approaching 4 out, ridden before 2 out, stayed on strongly towards finish, went 3rd last strides, 3rd of 11, 3/4l behind Stow (10-11) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Nov.
War Of The World (IRE) 5-1fav (11-4) Held up in rear, well behind 10th, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Grand Slam Hero (10-9) at Market Rasen 2m 6f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Jul, 16 ran.
Lady Karinga 7-1 (10-4) Tracked leaders on outer and keen, one pace from 3f out, weakened final furlong, 4th of 9, 17l behind First Rock (11-0) at Southwell 2m Nat Hunt Flat (4yo+) (AWT) (4) std in Dec.