San Telm failed to figure in better company having beaten Yesyoucan over these hurdles in October, though the latter went on to score back here last time. Mwaleshi defied a 23lb rise in the weights to land his hat-trick at Wetherby a fortnight ago with Jonathan England's assistance but is up another 13lb today and HOLLOW TREE looks a safer option. He has a recent run under his belt and his defeat of recent Fighting Fifth winner Countryside Flame at Chepstow last season is the best form on offer. Grafite and Top Wood are closely matched on their respective efforts behind the progressive Quaddick Lake and look best of the rest though Hada Men could figure if back to his best.
Hollow Tree 15-8 (11-6) Led, mistake 3rd, joined 4 out, reminder before 2 out, ridden and headed before last, one pace and no chance with winner, 2nd of 4, 6l behind Balder Succes (11-2) at Haydock 2m 4yo hdl (2) sft in Nov.
Mwaleshi 4-1 (10-11) Made all, clear from 2 out, easily, won at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft beating Fleet Dawn (11-5) by 9l, 10 ran.
Yesyoucan (IRE) 14-1 (10-12) Chased leader, ridden before last, led run-in, just held on, won at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Nov beating Black Thunder (11-12) by nk, 12 ran.
Constant Contact 33-1 (10-11) Mid-division, reminder after 3rd, soon lost place, behind from 4 out, 12th of 18, 26l behind Olofi (10-11) at Cheltenham 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) sft in Nov.
Grafite 9-2 (10-2) Tracked leaders, led 4 out, headed after next, led again 2 out, hard driven, held on gamely, won at Lingfield 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) hvy beating El Dancer (11-3) by 3/4l, 9 ran.
Bakbenscher 7-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, hampered 5th, headway 8th, no extra 2 out, 12th of 17, 50l behind Fair Along (11-12) at Newbury 3m hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Nov.
Hada Men (USA) 10-1 (11-0) Towards rear, headway into mid-division and reminder 4th, lost place 4 out, soon ridden, no danger after, 11th of 18, 37l behind Double Ross (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Nov.
San Telm (IRE) 16-1 (10-12) Mid-division, chased leaders 2 out, kept on same pace, no impression in 4th approaching last, 4th of 18, 13l behind Double Ross (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Nov.
Radmores Revenge 25-1 (11-6) Held up in rear, smooth headway approaching 4 out, 5th and in touch when fell next, in a race won by Fred The Shred (10-3) at Chepstow 3m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy, 13 ran.
Top Wood (FR) 11-4fav (11-7) Led and soon clear, reduced lead after 3 out, headed 2 out, chased leader, ralllied last, ridden and every chance flat, weakened final 50 yards, 3rd of 11, 1 1/4l behind Quaddick Lake (11-9) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft.
Royal Opera 12-1 (11-6) Chased leaders, weakened after 4 out, tailed off, last of 8, well behind Pas Trop Tard (11-0) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Nov.