This looks a potential match between PASCO and Straw Bear; the best idea may be to side with the horse at the most rewarding odds, however without that information we will just plump for Pasco. When the two clashed at Exeter in October, it was Straw Bear who did best, finishing second behind Sir Harry Ormesher. He followed that introductory run with a distant second to superstar Tatenen, and so has the advantage of one more chase run under his belt than Pasco. However the last-named raced freely at Exeter and it may be that for such a big horse he was in need of the run as he tired late on. Having won here over hurdles, the hope is that this exciting grey can go on to better things after a win here. Isn't That Lucky is the only other plausible alternative; Jonjo O'Neill's decent hurdler was a distant fourth on his chasing debut at Kempton behind a stablemate of Pasco's. This more testing track should suit and the market should help guide. An intriguing race, with the nomination going to Pasco.
Hi Blue 14-1 (12-0) Trckd ldrs til wknd 4 out, 4th of 6, 18l behind Secret Glen (12-0) at Andoversford 3m ptp frm in Apr '07.
Isn't That Lucky 16-1 (11-2) Held up, headway and in touch 4 out, stayed on same pace from next, 4th of 11, 25l behind I'msingingtheblues (11-2) at Kempton 2m beg chs (3) gd in Oct.
Pasco (SWI) 6-4fav (11-2) Tracked leader, led 6th, ridden after 4 out, headed approaching last, no extra, 3rd of 10, 2l behind Sir Harry Ormesher (11-2) at Exeter 2m 1f beg chs (3) gs in Oct.
Straw Bear (USA) 11-4 (11-2) Held up in 3rd, mistake 2nd, jumped slowly and dropped to 4th 3rd, not fluent 5th or 6th (water), reminder after 3 out, went 2nd after 2 out, no chance with winner, 2nd of 4, 24l behind Tatenen (11-1) at Cheltenham 2m nov chs Grd 2 (1) sf.
Thenford Trout (IRE) 28-1 (11-2) Led, headed approaching 2 out, soon weakened, last of 7, 50l behind Or Bleu (11-2) at Bangor 2m 4f beg chs (4) hvy.