The form of WESTLIN' WINDS Plumpton success looks very strong in the context of this race and Charlie Egerton's colt is taken to defy a double penalty and complete a hat-trick at the main expense of Mille Chief. The selection has scared off both Anak, whom he beat at Plumpton, and good yardstick Screaming Brave, who were both originally entered but have decided to give him the swerve in this, which speaks volumes. He acts with cut in the ground and has been untroubled in two wins so far, and we think he will add another. Mille Chief was travelling like a winner when unfortunately brought down three out at Market Rasen on his hurdling debut last month. He will be refreshed after a six-week break, acts on soft ground, and in receipt of 10lbs from our pick he looks a danger, although he has it all to prove. Mymateeric is another soft ground performer who races over his optimum trip, but his form over hurdles so far suggests that he has plenty to find to win this and place money looks his best hope. Freedom Fire looks to have too much to do, and Baccalaureate may be a better proposition. The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding will surely improve for his introduction to hurdles at Cheltenham and can join battle for the minor honours. The remainder look to have onerous tasks and Westlin' Winds will be tough to beat.
Westlin' Winds (IRE) 7-4 (11-2) Jumped well, made all, in command soon after 2 out, kept on strongly and drew clear flat, won at Plumpton 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) sft beating Anak (11-5) by 9l, 7 ran.
Mymateeric 20-1 (11-2) Held up mid-division, headway approaching 3 out, one pace, 4th of 15, 7l behind Alazan (11-5) at Doncaster 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gd.
Baccalaureate (FR) 20-1 (11-0) Always behind, ridden and hit 5th, struggling soon after, tailed off, 10th of 11, well behind Olofi (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (2) sft.
Father Figure (USA) 40-1 (8-9) In touch, lost place halfway, 10th of 11, 32l behind Bell Island (9-5) at Lingfield 1m 5f hcp 0-75 (5) pol in Oct (flat).
Freedom Fire (IRE) 16-1 (11-0) Pulled hard and prominent, never jumped well, led after 2nd, headed 4th, soon led again, headed before 2 out, soon weakened, 5th of 6, 12l behind Spunk (11-0) at Sandown 2m 3yo nov hdl (3) sft.
Mille Chief (FR) 8-11fav (10-12) Mid-division, headway and in touch 5th, joined leaders going well when brought down 2 out, in a race won by Sergeant Pink (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 1f 3yo nov hdl (4) sft in Nov, 13 ran.
Woodlark Island (IRE) 50-1 (10-12) Hampered 1st, ridden 4 out, always in rear, tailed off, 9th of 12, well behind Advisor (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) sft.
Coka (IRE) 100-1 (9-12) In touch, ridden and weakened 3f out, 5th of 7, well behind Mohanad (10-12) at Kempton 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) gf in Oct.
Pezula 66-1 (10-2) Held up in rear, jumped slowly 3rd, behind from next, 9th of 12, well behind Corredor Sun (10-12) at Warwick 2m 3yo nov hdl (4) sft.