Nigel Twiston-Davies has his runners in good form so Leamington Lad has to be considered but is hard to recommend having been pulled up in his last two starts and of more interest may be Jonjo O'Neill's Isn't That Lucky, who has his first start since running at Aintree's Grand National meeting, although the form of the yard is a bit and hit and miss at present. Pam Sly's Viable has gone up 8lb for his win at Market Rasen in July and this looks tougher, while Russian Flag faces no easy task on his return to action under the burden of 11st 12lb. The vote though goes the way of Charlie Longsdon's SONGE, who is well treated on hurdles form and looks to be going the right way over fences having run promisingly in a novice event here last time.
Russian Flag (FR) 11-1 (11-6) In touch, ridden and outpaced 3 out, soon lost place, weakened before last, 6th of 9, 32l behind De Boitron (10-9) at Cheltenham 2m cnd hcp chs (0-135) (3) gd in Apr.
Isn't That Lucky 16-1 (9-13) Tracked leaders in 3rd, blundered 14th, outpaced 2 out, kept on from last, no impression, 3rd of 27, 20l behind Always Waining (10-0) at Aintree 2m 5f lstd hcp chs (1) gs in Apr.
Leamington Lad (IRE) 9-2 (11-6) Led after 2nd, headed 6th, chased leader, ridden before 8th, soon weakened, pulled up 2nd last, in a race won by Passato (10-7) at Stratford 2m 1f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gf in May, 9 ran.
Viable 14-1 (11-1) Held up, went 4th 3rd, chased leader approaching 8th, led after 4 out, pressed from 3 out, stayed on well flat, won at Market Rasen 2m 2f hcp chs 0-120 (3) gd in Jul beating High Bird Humphrey (11-2) by 3 1/2l, 10 ran.
Songe (FR) 2-1 (10-12) Raced keenly, tracked leader, led 2nd, headed before 2 out, ridden last, stayed on under pressure to hold on for 2nd flat, no chance with winner, 2nd of 3, 9l behind Noble Request (11-5) at Huntingdon 2m nov chs (4) gf in May.
Native Coral (IRE) 14-1 (10-11) Held up in rear, ridden after 4 out, never dangerous, 8th of 10, 45l behind Barnhill Brownie (10-9) at Worcester 3m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Aug.
Picts Hill 9-1 (11-8) Led until after 1st, chased leader, hit 6th, lost 2nd before 8th, weakened 3 out, hit 2 out, tailed off, 7th of 10, well behind Carlitos (11-4) at Newbury 2m 6f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Mar.
Ursis (FR) 9-1 (11-2) Sometimes jumped right, led 3rd, headed 4 out, weakened 2 out, 3rd of 8, 25l behind Soubriquet (10-6) at Perth 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Sep.
Kikos (FR) 6-1 (11-7) With leader, not fluent 1st, led 4th, headed 8th, every chance 4 out, weakened approaching last, 6th of 8, 26l behind Oneway (11-7) at Worcester 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Sep.
Kirkhammerton (IRE) 8-1 (10-7) Held up in rear, hit rail on bend approaching 3rd, mistake 8th, behind 10th, pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by Mad Jack Duncan (10-0) at Worcester 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Sep, 10 ran.