Simply Ned will be all the better for his fourth at Wetherby and, though 3lb higher here, Davy Russell has travelled over to take the ride. He shouldn't be far away while it would be no surprise to see Hi George bounce back from a poor run at Cheltenham, though this may be a bit sharp for the latter nowadays. Claude Carter arrives on a hat-trick after a couple of wins at Market Rasen while Golden Future won over C&D a year ago and will be sharper for a recent reappearance. BRIDLINGTONBYGONES was just behind Simply Ned at Wetherby but ahead of Nine Stories and Unknown rebel. Karen McLintock's gelding will enjoy the better ground and is a sporting selection to finally end his long wait for a first win over hurdles.
Simply Ned (IRE) 4-1fav (11-2) In touch, tracked leading pair approaching 3 out, effort on inside next, soon ridden, kept on same pace, held flat, lost 3rd near finish, 4th of 14, 2l behind Hi Dancer (10-5) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.
Unknown Rebel (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders, lost place 5th, ridden to chase leaders on outside after 4 out, kept on same pace from next, no impression, 8th of 14, 18l behind Hi Dancer (10-5) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.
Nine Stories (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) Mistakes, mid-division, reminder after 3rd, chased leaders on outside after 4 out, ridden next, kept on same pace, no impression when switched inside 2 out, 6th of 14, 10l behind Hi Dancer (10-5) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.
Hi George 25-1 (10-7) Prominent, ridden 6th, weakened approaching 3 out, tailed off, 22nd of 23, well behind Bondage (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gs in Oct.
Cool Baranca (GER) 33-1 (10-2) Behind, struggling 5th, never near leaders, 7th of 14, 36l behind Cape Express (10-12) at Aintree 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gd in Oct.
Claude Carter 9-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, headway 3 out, soon chased leader, ridden to lead flat, driven out, won at Market Rasen 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in Sep beating Favours Brave (11-7) by 1l, 10 ran.
Grand Diamond (IRE) 40-1 (10-12) Mid-division, headway under pressure approaching 2 out, soon ridden, stayed on well flat, went 2nd near finish, no impression with winner, 2nd of 12, 2 3/4l behind War Singer (11-12) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gs in Oct.
Bridlingtonbygones (IRE) 16-1 (10-0) Mid-division on inside, chased leaders 3 out, kept on same pace from next, never on terms, 5th of 14, 5l behind Hi Dancer (10-5) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.
Golden Future 28-1 (10-9) Mistake 2nd, always behind, tailed off, 11th of 15, well behind Sporting Boy (11-3) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs.
Smart Ruler (IRE) 20-1 (11-3) Held up in rear, headway on outside 4th, mistake next, ridden approaching 3 out, soon weakened, tailed off after 2 out, soon pulled up, in a race won by Jolly Roger (11-9) at Cartmel 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd in Jun, 10 ran.