Competitive racing is very much the order of the day at Haydock and this contest is no different, with ALFIE SPINNER marginally preferred to Turbo Island and Pearlysteps, whilst Sergeant Pink is an outsider to consider for each-way backers. Nick Williams is doing a fine job with a relatively small string and Alfie Spinner did him proud when taking fourth in a competitive handicap hurdle last time. He's up 5lbs for that effort but the form of the race looks strong with some improving novices involved in the finish and today's softer ground should help bring about plenty of improvement. He's not yet won over quite this far but winning efforts at Newbury and Exeter suggest the trip will be no problem and he remains capable of better. Turbo Island won well enough in the end last time despite giving odds-on backers a scare or two along the way. James Ewart is another trainer worthy of praise and his gelding has won four of his six starts, showing in the process that he relishes cut in the ground. He's opposed narrowly because his sole effort over this trip resulted in heavy defeat, leaving the horse with stamina questions to answer, but if he does stay then a big run is likely. Pearlysteps comes with no such concerns having taken second over this trip last time and the winner looks pretty decent, so off a mark of 127 and with Oliver Greenall once more taking the ride he has to be considered, as does Glenwood Knight off what looks a good mark although he may not be suited by dropping in trip. At a price, Sergeant Pink could go well for a yard that had a winner during the week. He's a confirmed mud-lark who will stay further in time so if conditions worsen even further it may pay to have this one on side. Sarando would have real claims if bouncing back from a substandard Cheltenham effort as he's run a few top novices close this season but a watching brief is advised with that run fresh in the memory, with Have You Seen Me of marginally more interest particularly if he's able to settle better this time. McMurrough has looked promising on more than one occasion but not so much lately whilst the 5lb rise handed to Monsieur Jourdain may find him out here. This is really trappy but Alfie Spinner arrives on the back of a fine effort and should prove tough to beat.
Sarando 40-1 (11-12) Led to 3rd, tracked leaders, effort and every chance on inside 2 out, weakened last, 12th of 24, 25l behind Pause And Clause (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp (2) sft in Mar.
Alfie Spinner (IRE) 10-1 (10-11) Keen early, in touch, dropped mid-division 3rd, headway and effort 2 out, one pace from last, 4th of 18, 2 3/4l behind Red Harbour (10-11) at Sandown 2m 4f Grade 3 nov hcp hdl (1) gs in Mar.
Pearlysteps 11-4 (11-5) Held up in touch, good headway to join leader and hit 4 out, led next, hit last, headed towards finish, one pace, 2nd of 6, nk behind Ballybriggan (11-2) at Doncaster 2m 3f nh nov hdl (3) gd in Mar.
Llama Farmer 11-1 (11-8) Soon close up on outer, ridden and weakened approaching 3 out, 5th of 7, 32l behind Wymott (11-8) at Haydock 3m 1f nov hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb.
Have You Seen Me (IRE) 7-1 (10-10) Pulled hard, soon in touch, 5th when blundered and unseated rider 6th, in a race won by Bella Haze (10-10) at Uttoxeter 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Mar, 12 ran.
Turbo Island 10-11fav (11-3) Made all, driven 2 out, ridden and hard pressed flat, syated on gamely, towards finish, won at Newcastle 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Mar beating Solis (10-7) by 1l, 14 ran.
McMurrough (IRE) 2-1fav (11-9) Tracked leaders, badly hampered and unseated rider 2nd, in a race won by Tara Royal (11-6) at Carlisle 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gs in Mar, 15 ran.
Glenwood Knight (IRE) 1-5fav (11-5) Tracked leader, joined leader 6th, soon led, clear and jumped left 2 out and last, stayed on, won at Exeter 2m 7f nov hdl (4) gs in Feb beating Norwest (11-5) by 11l, 5 ran.
Monsieur Jourdain (IRE) 16-1 (10-11) Towards rear, not fluent 2nd, jumped slowly 6th, outpaced 7th, headway approaching 2 out, stayed on well flat, not reached winner, 2nd of 10, 1 1/4l behind Miss Ladybird (10-5) at Uttoxeter 2m nov hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Mar.
Sergeant Pink (IRE) 40-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders and keen, hampered 2nd, led after 3rd, headed after 4 out, pushed along and outpaced approaching 3 out, kept on from next, just held on for 3rd, 3rd of 7, 16l behind Me Voici (11-6) at Haydock 2m 4yo nov hdl (2) sft in Feb.
Papa Caruso 8-1 (11-2) Tracked leader, pushed along approaching 3 out, weakened approaching 2 out, 4th of 6, 7l behind Ballybriggan (11-2) at Doncaster 2m 3f nh nov hdl (3) gd in Mar.
Dinarius 8-1 (11-6) Held up behind on outside, headway approaching 3 out, ridden next, soon weakened, 12th of 15, well behind Akarshan (11-4) at Towcester 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gd in Mar.
Black Apache (IRE) 28-1 (11-6) Chased leaders, pushed along after 3 out, stayed on same pace and no impression before next, 3rd of 9, 27l behind Double Expresso (11-2) at Sedgefield 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Mar.