It will probably take a decent performance to lower the colours of KING MASSINI, who beat useful opposition at Cheltenham last Friday and looks to be on an upward curve. Doctor Foxtrot is the dark horse in the race as he had some fair form over hurdles last season. His first run over fences at Sandown was a disappointment but better is expected in time. Cootehill rarely runs a bad race but looks to be in the handicapper's grip and Rydalis couldn't win off a lower mark against lesser opposition here last time. Big News was in contention when falling on his reappearance at Chepstow but is another who would benefit from a lower rating.
Cootehill (IRE) 7-1 (11-7) Held up in rear, steady headway after 5 out, disputed 2nd when mistake 3 out, challenged last, ridden and evrey chance flat, kept on, just held, 2nd of 9, hd behind Pickamus (11-12) at Ludlow 3m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd.
Owen Glendower (IRE) 12-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, mistakes 8th and 12th, well beaten when mistake 3 out, 10th of 16, 32l behind King Massini (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 5f cond hcp chs (4yo+) (3) gd.
Big News 10-1 (11-6) Prominent, close up in 2nd when fell 11th, in a race won by Renard (11-10) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs, 9 ran.
King Massini (IRE) 5-1 (10-12) Always handy, not fluent 9th, jumped right 3 out, led before next, went right last, headed flat, led again post, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f cond hcp chs (4yo+) (3) gd beating Hit The Headlines (11-3) by ns, 16 ran.
Doctor Foxtrot (IRE) 16-1 (11-1) Held up in 6th, pushed along and outpaced 10th, last and struggling 12th,, last of 9, 42l behind The Italian Yob (11-5) at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd.
Hatters River (IRE) 4-1 (10-12) Held up in touch, lost place and in mid-division when fell 9th, in a race won by Westward Point (11-1) at Wetherby 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs, 8 ran.
Rydalis (FR) 9-4fav (11-2) Prominent, led 3rd, ridden before 4 out, 3 lengths clear 2 out, edged right flat, headed towards finish, 2nd of 9, 1 1/4l behind Jayandbee (10-0) at Ludlow 3m 1f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Nov.
Raduis Bleu (FR) 16-1 (10-3) Held up in touch, outpaced 5 out, kept on same pace under pressure from next, no chance with leaders, 5th of 9, 14l behind Pickamus (11-12) at Ludlow 3m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd.