BUCK'S BOND was easy to back on his hurdling debut but shrugged off the negative vibes to beat Alberobello by a neck. The runner-up has franked the form since and Paul Nicholls' winning pointer can double his tally under Rules with Ryan Mahon taking off a valuable 3lb. Cloudy Copper has also won between the flags before making a winning start over hurdles at Exeter and should improve further but Kayserberg probably has the better form, having run well under a penalty at Doncaster last time. Chaser Hold On Julio may be having a confidence-booster but stay well and Westaway was only beaten half-a-length at Ascot three weeks ago and should be winning soon.
Buck's Bond (FR) 10-1 (10-9) Raced wide in touch, headway approaching 8th, went 2nd after 3 out, led 2 out, 2 lengths clear last, idled flat, just held on, won at Taunton 3m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec beating Alberobello (10-12) by nk, 13 ran.
Cloudy Copper (IRE) 10-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, chased leaders in 5th, smooth headway to 2nd approaching 3 out, led 3 out, in command before last, came clear flat, easily, won at Exeter 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Nov beating Provo (11-5) by 5l, 13 ran.
Kaysersberg (FR) 5-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, went 2nd from 4th, led and mistake 4 out, ridden before 3 out, headed before 2 out, rallied after last, kept on and held towards finish, 2nd of 10, 1 1/4l behind Midnight Oscar (10-12) at Doncaster 3m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Atriptomilan (IRE) 10-1 (10-12) In touch, lost place 5th, ridden 4 out, struggling in modest 5th when swished tail under pressure after 2 out, 5th of 11, 21l behind Sammys Gone (10-12) at Hereford 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Dunloughin (IRE) 10-1 (10-9) Tracked winner, reminders 4th (usual 8th,) ridden next, outpaced last (usual 3 out,) kept on, 4th of 6, 11l behind Ace Fighter Pilot (11-5) at Plumpton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Hold On Julio (IRE) 9-4fav (10-11) Tracked leading duo, blundered and dropped to 4th at 9th, reminder and went 3rd soon after, ridden and 2 lengths 3rd when blundered and unseated rider 3 out, in a race won by Wyck Hill (10-0) at Ascot 3m listed hcp chs (1) hvy in Dec, 6 ran.
Portrait Emotion (IRE) 2-1 (10-9) Led and disputed, headed 7th, chased winner, ridden before 2 out, soon weakened quickly, tailed off, 7th of 9, well behind Minella For Steak (10-12) at Folkestone 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Westaway (IRE) 16-1 (10-11) Held up in touch, chased leaders halfway, stayed on strongly after last to go 3rd close home, 2nd of 6, 1/2l behind Ballytober (11-0) at Ascot 2m 6f NH mdn hdl (3) hvy in Dec.