Astracad has won his last two starts for Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has his string in fine form, but a 15lb rise for the latest of those successes makes this more difficult and it may be worth siding with GRAND LAHOU. Tim Vaughan's gelding had a slight lead before falling over fences at Ffos Las last month and may be worth backing on his return to hurdles. Nicky Henderson's Higgy's Boy is capable but has a long absence to overcome, while Kim Bailey's Points of View has been harshly punished by the handicapper for his recent wins at Worcester and Bangor. Don McCain's Son of Flicka faces no easy task under his big weight and of more interest may be Emma Lavelle's Oceana Gold, particularly if the market speaks in his favour.
Son Of Flicka 9-2 (11-8) Chased winner throughout, close up 5th, driven and effort 3 out, ridden next, kept on same pace, no impression approaching last, 2nd of 9, 5l behind Alazan (10-6) at Bangor 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-150 (2) gd in Aug.
Now This Is It (IRE) 12-1 (11-3) Held up towards rear, 9th after 4 out, 6th and headway after 3 out, 2nd and challenged after last, drifted left under pressure, kept on, 2nd of 11, 1 1/4l behind Grangeclare Gold (11-2) at Bellewstown 2m 4f hcp hdl gd in Aug.
Oceana Gold 11-2 (11-4) In touch, weakened after 3 out, 7th of 17, 17l behind Valain (10-11) at Ffos Las 2m hcp hdl (2) gd in Aug '09.
Points of View 11-4fav (11-7) Held up towards rear, headway 7th, led approaching 2 out, clear last, easily, won at Bangor 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Aug beating Word Of Warning (11-1) by 9l, 10 ran.
Higgy's Boy (IRE) 6-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, went 2nd before 2 out, driven and 1 length down before last, kept on gamely flat, driven ahead towards finish, won at Ascot 2m 4yo nov hcp hdl (2) gd in Mar '09 beating Rory Boy (10-10) by nk, 8 ran.
Dishdasha (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) Chased leaders, ridden 4 out, weakened before next, 6th of 7, 21l behind Classic Swain (11-10) at Newton Abbot 2m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Aug.
Tarkari (IRE) 10-1 (10-9) Soon chased leaders, 9th 4 out, no impression under pressure and kept on same pace straight, 7th of 25, 12l behind Jigalo (10-5) at Punchestown 2m hcp hdl 0-140 gd in Apr.
Palomar (USA) 18-1 (10-5) Held up in rear, ridden after 4 out, weakened approaching 3 out, 9th of 12, 40l behind Overturn (10-7) at Ayr 2m Ltd hcp hdl (1) gd in Apr.
Baccalaureate (FR) 22-1 (11-1) Held up mid-division, pushed along approaching 6th, soon weakened, 12th of 14, well behind Tabaran (10-2) at Newton Abbot 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in May.
Astracad (FR) 3-1fav (10-7) Held up towards rear, headway 8th, led approaching 3 out, edged left before last, edged left and stayed on well flat, won at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in May beating Baaher (9-10) by 2l, 18 ran.
Grand Lahou (FR) 15-8fav (10-9) Pulled hard, led 2nd, jumped right throughout, mistake 4th, fell 9th, in a race won by West With The Wind (11-12) at Ffos Las 2m hcp chs (2) gd in Aug, 9 ran.
Master Nimbus 15-2 (11-3) Mid-division, headway 4 out, went 2nd after 3 out, led after next, travelling well and 3 lenghts ahead when fell last, in a race won by Quito Du Tresor (10-10) at Aintree 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in May, 10 ran.
Diktalina 5-4fav (11-4) Close up in 4th, blundered and lost place 2nd, rallied to chase leaders after next, pushed along after 6th, ridden and beaten 3 out, 3rd of 7, 25l behind Manele Bay (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f mrs nov hdl (4) hvy in Mar.
Celticello (IRE) 9-2 (11-5) Took keen hold, in touch towards rear, headway 7th, not fluent 2 out, led last, edged right flat, ridden out, won at Market Rasen 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Aug beating Darksideofthemoon (11-11) by nk, 8 ran.
Dunaskin (IRE) 6-4 (11-12) Made all, stayed on well to draw clear from last, eased towards finish, won at Cartmel 2m 1f sell hdl (5) gd in Aug beating Tri Nations (11-7) by 15l, 7 ran.
Stage Acclaim (IRE) 25-1 (9-12) Towards rear, headway approaching 2 out, went 3rd last, stayed on, just failed for 2nd, no chance with winner, 3rd of 17, 20l behind Australia Day (11-5) at Market Rasen 2m 1f lst hcp hdl (0-150) (1) gd in Jul.
Amazing King (IRE) 20-1 (9-12) Always towards rear, 18th of 19, well behind Overturn (11-6) at Galway 2m hcp hdl gf in Jul.