This appears the inferior division of the Maiden Hurdle and it's accordingly difficult to solve, with CLOUSEAU heading our shortlist of four that includes Slam, Accordingtoemandem and No Sting. Our selection should improve upon his first try in this country when he stayed on well, especially as paddock watchers that day suggested the run would bring him on a bundle. That fifth-placed effort seemed to confirm the horse does stay two miles and the better ground should help all-round, so in a race lacking strength he could confirm his trainer's belief in him. No Sting has a rating of 103 following three decent efforts and she may not need to improve on that to score should our pick disappoint. The filly has taken in some decent contests and takes a relative drop in grade, so a place looks on the cards as it does for Slam whose flat rating of 95 should mean he makes a good hurdler. Tom George's animal wouldn't want the rain to arrive though so a weather-check is advised and if it did pour then Accordingtoemandem would become more likely to figure. Ian Williams' gelding is another who has taken in some better races and there may be more to come, although he'll be even more interesting in handicap company after this qualifying run. Both You Never Said and General Ting ran on Sunday and are therefore doubtful contenders, particularly the former who may need time to get over his exertions when staying on late in defeat. Spot The Ball fell last time and may be seen to better effect over further in handicaps whilst Harvest Song will need to leave his flat form well behind to justify a lofty price-tag. The market may give us some clues that are clearly needed to solve a tricky puzzle, but without that guide we'll take Clouseau to uncover some improvement in our search to crack the case.
Accordingtoemandem (IRE) 66-1 (11-2) Mid-division, took keen hold, no impressiom 6th, stayed on approaching last, no threat, 5th of 13, 10l behind Rackham Lerouge (11-2) at Bangor 2m 1f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (4) gs in Feb.
Border Lad 200-1 (11-3) Mid-division, went badly right 1st, lost place after 3rd, pushed along next, soon behind, 13th of 15, well behind Black Jack Blues (11-3) at Ludlow 2m NH mdn hdl (4) gs in Feb.
Clouseau (NZ) 66-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, headway before 2 out, kept on same pace, 5th of 14, 8l behind Tito Bustillo (11-8) at Taunton 2m 1f nh nov hdl (3) sft in Dec.
Filun 66-1 (11-4) Held up in midfield, headway 4th, pushed along in 4th place after 3 out, weakened before next, 5th of 11, 35l behind General Kutuzov (11-4) at Lingfield 2m mdn hdl (5) hvy in Jan.
General Ting (IRE) 14-1 (9-10) Held up in last pair, ridden on inside over 2f out, plugged on inside final furlong, 4th of 10, 7l behind Bollin Judith (8-3) at Redcar 1m 6f hcp 0-75 (5) gf in Oct (flat).
Magistrate (IRE) 150-1 (11-4) In touch, lost place 3rd, outpaced 3 out, soon weakened, 11th of 14, 48l behind Cheshire Prince (11-6) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Slam 11-1 (9-4) Dwelt, soon tracking leader, weakened quickly over 2f out, soon eased, last of 12, well behind Moonquake (9-4) at York 1m 2f hcp 0-100 (2) gf in May (flat).
Spot The Ball (IRE) 10-1 (10-13) Held up towards rear, fell 4 out, in a race won by Hidden Keel (11-2) at Doncaster 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Feb, 11 ran.
You Never Said (IRE) 3-1fav (11-6) Prominent, chased leader approaching 4th, ridden approaching 2 out in 4th and well held when fell last, in a race won by Surprise Pension (11-6) at Catterick 2m mdn hdl (4) gs in Dec '08, 16 ran.
Golden Button (IRE) 20-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, weakened 2 out, 5th of 12, 19l behind Banjaxed Girl (10-12) at Southwell 2m mrs nov hdl (4) sft in Feb.
Harvest Song (IRE) 11-1 (8-10) Mid-division, ridden over 5f out, driven and weakened over 3f out, 10th of 12, 50l behind Autumn Harvest (9-13) at Thirsk 1m 4f mdn stks (5) gd in May (flat).
Mid Wicket (USA) 7-1 (8-12) Held up, towards rear, some late headway, never nearer, 7th of 12, 5l behind Jiggalong (8-9) at Lingfield 1m 4f hcp 0-52 (6) pol in Feb (flat).
Royal Society 12-1 (10-2) Prominent, chased leader over 2f out, until over 1f out, stayed on same pace, 5th of 12, 4 1/2l behind By Command (10-10) at Wolverhampton 1m 1f am hcp 0-60 (6) pol in Feb (flat).
No Sting 9-2 (10-5) Raced freely, led, clear after 2nd until approaching 4th, headed before 2 out, soon weakened, 3rd of 8, 20l behind Fin Vin De Leu (10-12) at Warwick 2m 4yo nov hdl (4) hvy in Feb.