Knockara Beau took some notable scalps in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and is bidding to take another here back over fences. He likes it here and should give a good account but, all things being equal, shouldn't beat former Gold Cup and King George winner LONG RUN. The latter has disappointed this season and unseated Sam Waley-Cohen when beaten at Kempton on Boxing Day but should get a lead from Knockara Beau and will have no excuses today. Isla Pearl Fisher should chase home the principals at a respectful distance as veteran Heez A Steel faces a forlorn task at the weights.
Heez A Steel (IRE) 10-1 (11-4) Tracked leader, ridden and weakened before 2 out, 6th of 14, 21l behind Esme Rides A Gaine (9-10) at Hexham 3m 1f hcp chs 0-95 (5) sft in Dec.
Isla Pearl Fisher 11-2 (11-1) In touch and in rear, went 3rd from 10th, went 2nd 5 out, led 3 out, clear before last, kept on well, won at Musselburgh 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Jan beating Kris Cross (10-9) by 3l, 4 ran.
Knockara Beau (IRE) 66-1 (11-0) Led, headed narrowly after 4th, lost place and behind 3 out, headway on inside next, challenged last, ridden and stayed on to lead narrowly final 50 yards, just held on, won at Cheltenham 3m hdl G2 (1) hvy in Jan beating At Fishers Cross (11-4) by shd, 6 ran.
Long Run (FR) 8-1 (11-10) Prominent, raced wide, mistake 12th, soon under pressure, blunderd 3 out, in 4th when blundered and unseated rider last, in a race won by Silviniaco Conti (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec, 9 ran.