Quaddick Lake has had a fine season but this looks too tough. This may be an insufficient test of stamina for Ffos Las winner Kaylif Aramis and Hollo Ladies needs softer ground but Suzy Smith does well here and Natural Spring arrives in form having won a jumpers' bumper at Lingfield recently, though she was behind Hollow Penny in a similar contest earlier at the same track. Katkeau, a well-backed favourite over course and distance on Boxing Day, has to go on the short-list and God Of The Kop is also interesting on his first try at this trip but we're loathe to desert DE BLACKSMITH in his current form. He was all out to win a novices' hurdle at Plumpton last month but looks a tough individual and could be the type that always finds a bit more when required.
Quaddick Lake (IRE) 13-2 (11-6) Held up in rear, took keen hold, badly hampered 6th and soon well behind, headway 2 out, went 3rd flat, ran on, nearest finish, 3rd of 10, 3 1/2l behind Art Professor (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) gs.
De Blacksmith (IRE) 9-2 (11-12) Soon chased leaders, led 5th, ridden and headed 2 out, remained close up, pressed leader last, rallied run-in, led close home, won at Plumpton 2m 5f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) sft in Jan beating Shuh Shuh Gah (11-6) by shd, 10 ran.
Lordofthehouse (IRE) 5-2 (11-5) Reluctant to race, detached, not fluent 2nd, soon closed on rear of main group, went 3rd 6th, not fluent and ridden 2 out, no extra, 4th of 6, 9l behind Close Touch (11-5) at Ascot 2m hdl (3) sft in Nov.
Baby Shine (IRE) 4-1fav (11-5) Tracked leader until before 3 out, no extra from next, 7th of 10, 29l behind Art Professor (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) gs.
Natural Spring 4-7fav (10-7) Towards rear, headway over 4f out, led over 3f out, clear over 1f out, easewd towards finish, won at Lingfield 2m n h flat (4) std in Jan beating Grassfinch (10-7) by 3 1/2l, 7 ran.
Hollow Penny 3-1fav (11-4) Held up mid-division, headway over 5f out, led over 1f out, kept on well, won at Lingfield 2m n h flat (4) std in Jan beating Keep Kicking (11-4) by 1l, 14 ran.
Gormanstown Cuckoo 14-1 (11-8) Held up towards rear, soon in rear, ridden and headway before last, one pace, 5th of 9, 10l behind Herdsman (10-3) at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Jan.
Phare Isle (IRE) 22-1 (10-12) Mid-division on outside, fell 6th, in a race won by Art Professor (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) gs, 10 ran.
Katkeau (FR) 2-1fav (11-3) Held up behind, headway and in touch 7th, chased winner after 3 out, 3rd and beaten when blundered next, soon weakened, 4th of 12, 21l behind Loose Chips (11-7) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) hvy in Dec.
Hollo Ladies (IRE) 9-1 (10-11) In rear, headway before 2 out, chance last, ridden and no extra run-in, 3rd of 8, 1 3/4l behind Thunderstorm (10-6) at Market Rasen 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft.
Kaylif Aramis 4-1 (10-8) Mid-division, headway 7th, challenged 2 out, led before last where not fluent, held on, won at Ffos Las 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy beating The Bear Trap (10-13) by hd, 14 ran.
God Of The Kop (IRE) 2-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders, niggled along before 5th, close up 6th, led 2 out, headed last, stayed on same pace, 2nd of 13, 11l behind Saphir Du Rheu (10-7) at Taunton 2m 1f nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Hand On Bach (IRE) 66-1 (11-2) Led, hit 4 out, headed 3 out, chased leaders, weakened between last 2, 7th of 12, 14l behind Chatterbox (11-8) at Newbury 2m nh nov hdl (3) sft.
Spanish Arch (IRE) 9-4fav (10-12) Mid-division, headway 4 out, chased leaders next, every chance 2 out, weakened last, 3rd of 8, 11l behind Farmer Matt (10-0) at Ascot 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec.
Brilliant Barca 100-1 (11-4) Always towards rear, 10th of 14, 31l behind Fair Trade (11-4) at Kempton 2m n h flat (4) std in Jan.
Sail And Return 10-1 (11-0) Towards rear, headway 4 out to chase leaders, weakened before 2 out, 9th of 15, 33l behind Dream Again Boys (11-7) at Warwick 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) hvy.