Top-weight LOS NADIS was faced with an impossible task at Haydock last weekend against Binocular and back here at a more realistic level he can gain his fifth career victory. Mr Jack Daniels can be expected to have benefited considerably for his seasonal debut while Maneki Neko belied his huge odds to run a cracker at Cheltenham two weeks ago in an ultra competitive handicap. Los Nadis proved himself quite a smart juvenile hurdler last season in Scotland, finishing second in the Scottish version of the Triumph Hurdle off 123. He failed to capitalise on what appeared a lenient mark on the flat owing possibly to testing conditions during the autumn. Although flattered to get so close to Binocular with Ryan Mania now able to claim 7lb off his back, he is the one to beat. Mr Jack Daniels made full use of his lowly mark during the spring of last season. Off his current mark he does look rather high in the handicap and is worth opposing. Maneki Neko will be better suited by the fast surface here. The Cheltenham contest in which he finished second was rife with unexposed sorts which makes his effort all the more creditable. Mr Crystal was another smart juvenile hurdler north of the border last season and comes here fit from the flat. Castletown Boy was given an easy time of things when his chance had gone at Perth. From a stout jumping family that includes the likes of Lord Noelie and Addington Boy, it might be that he will need the run today. This makes for an interesting handicap and Los Nadis is the selection.
Los Nadis (GER) 14-1 (10-12) Tracked leader, led 5th,headed after 3 out, soon ridden and one pace, 2nd of 5, 3 1/2l behind Binocular (11-6) at Haydock 2m 4yo hdl (2) gd.
Mr Crystal (FR) 3-1 (11-8) Held up, ridden 4 out, plugged on one pace, 3rd of 6, 36l behind La Vecchia Scuola (11-1) at Ayr 2m 4yo nov hdl (3) gd in Apr.
Soubriquet (IRE) 16-1 (10-13) In touch when unseated rider at the 4th in race won by European Dream (11-4) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gs, 11 ran.
Mr Jack Daniells (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Held up behind, weakened from 3 out, 8th of 14, 22l behind French Opera (11-8) at Aintree 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gs in Oct.
Amazing King (IRE) 22-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, weakened approaching last, 7th of 13, 12l behind First Point (11-5) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gf in Oct.
Maneki Neko (IRE) 66-1 (10-10) In touch, led 4th, narrowly headed 3 out, ridden to lead soon after 2 out, ridden and headed approaching last, not pace of winner, 2nd of 19, 4l behind Sunnyhillboy (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m nov hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft.
Ecole D'Art (USA) 3-10fav (11-9) Led, not fluent 5th, soon headed, 2nd and challenged after 2 out, every chance under pressure last, no extra run-in, 2nd of 6, 1l behind Classic Croco (11-6) at Wexford 2m nov hdl gs in Aug '06.
Castletown Boy (IRE) 9-2 (10-13) Mid-division, ridden and lost place from 4 out, 12th of 14, well behind Tranos (10-4) at Perth 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gf in Jul.
Regent's Secret (USA) 10-1 (10-13) Mid-division, outpaced 4 out, soon ridden, kept on under pressure from next, no impression, 3rd of 12, 22l behind Border Tale (10-6) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Oct.
Calculaite 9-1 (10-7) Towards rear, reminders approaching 4 out, never dangerous, last of 10, well behind Cedrus Libani (11-12) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gf.
Farne Island 66-1 (10-12) Held up, headway 3 out, ridden and no impression from next, 7th of 16, 36l behind Akarem (10-12) at Kelso 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Nov '07.