This is the richest race on the card, and our idea of the most likely winner in a very competitive contest is NORTONTHORPE LAD, who we prefer to Working Title and Harry Tricker. Alison Thorpe trains him for her Dad, and he was a decent second here last time out in a similar contest, and that just a week after a pipe opener when coming home ahead of Quasar D'Oudairies. There shouldn't be any concerns about the conditions, and he's got plenty in hand at the weights with Working Title, whose best form was in the early part of last year. He's got a lot to carry around though as top weight which may be a worry, although Felix de Giles keeps him competitive by claiming three pounds. Good money's been paid a couple of times for Harry Tricker, but he's only won once over hurdles, and that was a year ago. Gary and Jamie Moore wouldn't be coming up for this one race though if they didn't think he had a chance. Several here are likely to be supported, but our backing goes to Nortonthorpe Lad.
Working Title (IRE) 6-1fav (10-1) Held up mid-division, ridden and outpaced 3 out, stayed on and hanging right under pressure last, 3rd of 18, 3 1/2l behind Lough Derg (11-10) at Ascot 2m 3f hcp hdl Grd 2 (1) gs in Jan.
King's Revenge 8-1 (10-11) Chased leaders, ridden after 3 out, soon weakened, 13th of 15, well behind Presenting Copper (10-8) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl (2) hvy in Jan.
Nortonthorpe Lad (IRE) 13-2 (11-11) In touch, ridden when left in lead 3 out, all out and headed flat, 2nd of 12, 1 1/2l behind Red Admiral (11-8) at Ludlow 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Jan.
Harry Tricker 4-1jt-fav (11-5) Held up in mid-division, effort on outside after 2 out, kept on run-in, not reach leaders, 6th of 15, 5l behind Ingratitude (11-9) at Kempton 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in Dec.
Cnoc Moy (IRE) 12-1 (11-3) Mid-division, promising headway on outside before 2 out, ridden and found nil between last 2, 10th of 15, 15l behind Ingratitude (11-9) at Kempton 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in Dec.
Weather Front 3-1fav (10-12) Held up in rear, ridden approaching 3 out, soon weakened and pulled up at the last in race won by Charlie Crab (11-3) at Doncaster 2m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) sft in Dec, 9 ran.
Quasar d'Oudairies (FR) 8-1 (11-5) Towards rear, lost touch 5th, 6th of 11, 10l behind White On Black (10-1) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Jan.
Nordwind (IRE) 5-1jt-fav (10-9) Held up, ridden and weakened 3 out, 9th of 12, 31l behind Red Admiral (11-8) at Ludlow 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Jan.
Roisin's Prince (IRE) 11-4jt-fav (11-2) Prominent, ridden after 8th, weakened approaching 2 out, 5th of 9, 49l behind Anglicisme (11-2) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f sll hdl (5) hvy in Jan.