Know The Law could be a warm order for this race and has an obvious chance but he doesn't make much appeal at the forecast prices and it could make more sense to side with West With The Wind or last year's winner (and our nominal pick) NORTONTHORPE LAD. Alison Thorpe has her string in good form and Nortonthorpe Lad lines up from a mark that's just 1lb higher than that from which he won the race last year. He's fitted with cheekpieces for the first time and it would be no great surprise to see him bounce back. Know The Law's Kempton third has been advertised by the run of the winner, Ronaldo Des Mottes, at Newbury and he has a startlingly obvious chance from just a 2lb higher mark. West With The Wind was always held in high regard by Tom Tate and ran a blinder over fences on debut for this yard in December; he has the scope to win races over hurdles from his current perch and rates a big danger to all with a stablemate keeping the weights down. Marodima has slipped to a decent mark and has run a couple of sound races over hurdles this season, Novikov has been performing well for David Evans, War Party is better than his recent runs suggest, Marchand D'Argent shouldn't be ignored whilst Ostland has been allotted a fair mark for his handicap bow and should have more to offer. There are plenty in with chances which is why we're keen to take on likely favourite Know The Law and the two that make most appeal are West With The Wind and Nortonthorpe Lad.
Earth Magic (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Chased leaders, 4th halfway, ridden and dropped to 7th 5 out, no impression and kept on one pace, 6th of 13, 12l behind Sigma Lifestyle (11-12) at Punchestown 3m beg chs hvy in Dec.
Marodima (FR) 16-1 (11-0) Led in start, led at good pace and soon clear, reduced lead 5th, ridden and headed before 2 out, soon left behind, last of 3, 12l behind Binocular (11-8) at Sandown 2m listed hdl (1) sft.
Nortonthorpe Lad (IRE) 25-1 (10-12) Mid-division, weakened soon after 3 out, 9th of 16, 15l behind Arctic Magic (10-2) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-120 (2) sft in Jan.
Novikov 11-4fav (11-4) Tracked leaders, ridden to chase winner approaching last, kept on, 2nd of 8, 1 1/4l behind Benfleet Boy (11-11) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) hvy.
West With The Wind 10-1 (10-7) Held up in touch, headway to chase winner before 4 out, blundered 4 out, pecked 3 out, not fluent 2 out, driven and closed flat, not reached winner, 2nd of 9, 3/4l behind Acordeon (10-13) at Ludlow 2m nov chs (3) sft in Dec.
Know The Law 3-1fav (10-9) Close up, effort to chase winner and every chance 2 out, ridden and no impression when lost 2nd last, stayed on same pace flat, 3rd of 14, 6l behind Ronaldo Des Mottes (11-10) at Kempton 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Dec.
Marchand D'argent (FR) 15-2 (10-8) Mid-division, effort to chase leaders 2 out, soon ridden, no impression, 8th of 12, 20l behind Eradicate (10-13) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gs.
Ostland (GER) 13-2 (11-11) Mid-division, headway 4 out, effort 2 out, soon ridden, kept on same pace approaching last, 3rd of 14, 3 1/2l behind Cheshire Prince (11-6) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
War Party 33-1 (11-8) Towards rear, headway to 4th after 3 out, weakened before next, 7th of 11, 44l behind Oscar Whisky (11-8) at Sandown 2m nh nov hdl (3) hvy.
Nothing Is Forever (IRE) 14-1 (11-9) Tended to jump left, pressed leader until weakened 3 out, weakened quickly and hit next, tailed off, last of 10, well behind Aather (11-3) at Ffos Las 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gs in Dec.