Fintan has a penalty to carry for last month's victory at Worcester but still appears to be heading in the right direction and makes more appeal than Theredballoon, who has had a break since scoring at Uttoxeter in May though the second that day, American Spin, won easily at Fontwell earlier this week. Jeremy Scott's stable is going well so Bowntobebad, third in a Wincanton bumper a year ago, has to be considered but VALLEY LAD may be the one to beat. From the same family as smart hurdler Mole Board, Tim Vaughan's five-year-old should thrive now faced with a set of obstacles and is started off at a realistic level.
Fintan 10-3 (11-0) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, slightly hampered 3 out, challenged last, soon led, stayed on well to draw clear towards finish, won at Worcester 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) gd in Sep beating The Big Freeze (11-0) by 4 1/2l, 12 ran.
Theredballoon 3-1 (11-0) Raced keenly, held up in touch, tracked leading pair 4 out, challenged approaching 2 out, soon led, hard pressed last, ridden and stayed on flat, won at Uttoxeter 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gf in May beating American Spin (11-0) by 3l, 6 ran.
Amphibalus (IRE) 33-1 (8-8) Chased leaders, ridden 4f out, weakened over 3f out, 12th of 13, 33l behind Black Dahlia (9-2) at Great Leighs 1m 2f hcp 0-60 (6) pol in Apr '08 (flat).
Bowntobebad (IRE) 9-1 (11-0) In touch, pushed along and kept on final 2f went 3rd green and and edged right inside final 2f, 3rd of 10, 4 1/2l behind Peckhamecho (11-4) at Wincanton 2m NH flat (6) gd in Nov.
Ever A Gent 80-1 (10-7) Always towards rear, 8th of 12, 44l behind Cape Dutch (10-7) at Hexham 2m mdn hdl (5) gd in Sep.
Mezarat (ITY) 20-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, went 2nd 4th until next, chased leaders until weakened after 3 out, tailed off, 8th of 9, 49l behind Bazart (9-10) at Stratford 2m hcp hld 0-95 (5) gf.
Valley Lad (IRE) 7-4fav (11-11) Raced in rear, headway over 2f out, chased leaders over 1f out, never on terms, 4th of 8, 13l behind Sharlene's Quest (10-4) at Ffos Las 2m NH flat (5) gs in Feb.