The champ could be on for quick double in this if things went according to plan in the opener as ACE FIGHTER PILOT, a promising novice hurdler last year, will have benefited greatly from his chasing bow at Worcester where he jumped well until running out of steam. Ballylifen showed promise over fences last season and both Miracle House and Well Mett have won over hurdles. The latter needs a more searching test of stamina however. Escudero won a couple of novice hurdles for Paul Nicholls in 2011 and is back at Ditcheat after a spell hunting, though is probably best watched today.
Ace Fighter Pilot 9-4 (11-0) Led, hit 3rd and 4th, headed when not fluent 10th, hit 13th, ridden after 4 out, weakened approaching next, last of 4, 47l behind Ambion Wood (11-0) at Worcester 2m 7f beg chase (4) gd in Jun.
Ballylifen (IRE) 7-2 (11-1) Led at steady pace, narrowly headed 4th, pressed leader, chased new leader fom 3 out, every chance 2 out, chased winner briefly, stayed on same pace in 3rd, 3rd of 9, 13l behind Salmanazar (11-1) at Kempton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Mar.
Escudero (IRE) Evensfav (11-5) Tracked leaders, bad mistake 6th, stoked along after 9th, ridden to challenge 2 out, led flat, driven right out, won at Worcester 3m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Jul '11 beating Cock Of The Rock (10-12) by 3/4l, 7 ran.
Highbury High (IRE) 6-1 (12-0) Pr, b mstk 3out whilst 3rd, lst pl & no ex up appr 2out, wknd last, 8th of 12, 15l behind Ed's Legacy (12-0) at Tattersalls Farm 3m ire ptp gf in May.
Mac Beattie 20-1 (11-4) Held up, headway when not fluent 6th, weakened before 3 out, 7th of 12, 47l behind Kusadasi (11-8) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gd in Jun.
Miracle House (IRE) 9-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, headway approaching 8th, close up 3 out, jumped right and weakened 2 out, 5th of 10, 20l behind Trackmate (11-8) at Uttoxeter 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Sep.
Rusty Nail (IRE) 33-1 (10-12) Held up behind, weakened before 4 out, tailed off, 7th of 9, well behind Belle De Fontenay (10-7) at Worcester 2m sell hdl (5) gd.
Thehorsemaytalk (IRE) 22-1 (11-0) Held up in last pair, hit 12th, headway next, weakened before 15th, 5th of 8, 17l behind American Spin (11-0) at Newton Abbot 3m 2f beg chase (4) gd in May.
Theroadtogorey (IRE) 14-1 (11-1) Behind, weakened 4 out, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Bells Of Berlin (10-6) at Wincanton 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-95 (5) gf in May, 13 ran.
Well Mett (IRE) 9-4fav (11-12) Led, pecked slightly 6th, headed after 2 out, every chance when mistake and sprawled badly on landing last, not recover, 4th of 6, 24l behind Eleazar (11-4) at Stratford 3m 4f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gf in Jun.