AL FEROF was second in last year's Champion Bumper and would almost certainly have made a winning start over hurdles had he not come down two out at Cheltenham last month. Subsequently third in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury, Paul Nicholls' gelding looks as though he only has to complete to get off the mark here. Amaury De Lusignan was engaged at Newbury yesterday, while Kim Tian Road hasn't raced since finishing second for David Marnane in a Tramore bumper in August. So the one for forecast-backers may be Shootin The Breeze, who stayed on nicely up the straight when seventh to Minella Class at Newbury and will be suited by the extra.
Al Ferof (FR) 5-2 (11-7) Slow 1st, held up last, headway 5th, 4th after 4 out, 3rd before next, well held 3rd as field came into view final 110 yards, 3rd of 8, 10l behind Backspin (11-7) at Newbury 2m 5f nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gs in Dec.
Amaury De Lusignan (IRE) 8-1 (11-7) Ww rr, 9th & gng well 5out, prog in fair 5th 2out & went 2nd close home, nrst at fin, 2nd of 11, 7l behind Viaduct Joey (11-7) at Dromahane 3m ire ptp gd in Nov.
Another Round (IRE) 150-1 (11-0) Mid-division, dropped rear 5th, struggling next, tailed off when pulled up before 7th, in a race won by Global Power (11-0) at Folkestone 2m 6f mdn hdl (4) sft in Dec, 16 ran.
Barton Cliche 25-1 (10-12) Led early, chased leaders, weakened over 5f out, 15th of 16, well behind Bangkok Pete (10-12) at Uttoxeter 2m NH flat (6) gd in May '09.
Dapple Prince (IRE) 50-1 (10-13) Mid-division, ridden 6f out, soon weakened, 14th of 15, well behind Rose Of The Moon (11-4) at Uttoxeter 2m NH flat (6) hvy in Oct.
His Lordship 33-1 (11-2) Held up towards rear, ridden 3f out, never dangerous, 11th of 19, 26l behind Problema Tic (11-5) at Aintree 2m 1f NH flat (5) gd in May.
Kadalkin (FR) 4-1 (10-7) in a race won by Mickytaker (11-7) at Stafford Cross 2m 4f ptp gd in May, 9 ran.
Ronnie Ronalde (IRE) 9-1 (11-2) Led after 6f, headed 3f out, weakened entering final 2f, 8th of 14, 34l behind Glitzy D'ocala (11-5) at Exeter 2m 1f mdn NH flat (6) gs.
Shootin The Breeze (IRE) 66-1 (10-11) Towards rear, not fluent 2nd, mistake 3 out, headway approaching 2 out, never on terms, 7th of 22, 20l behind Minella Class (11-0) at Newbury 2m mdn hdl (4) gd in Dec.
Sir Ocus 5-2fav (10-1) Mid-division, struggling 5f out, tailed off, 11th of 13, well behind Gallox Bridge (10-13) at Fontwell 1m 6f NH flat (6) sft in Feb.
Tanners Emperor 100-1 (10-11) Disputed lead until lost place quickly approaching 5th, soon behind, pulled up before 8th, in a race won by Sonofvic (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gs in Nov, 15 ran.
Big Knickers 33-1 (10-7) Mid-division, ridden 4 out, weakened approaching next, 8th of 15, 23l behind Our Father (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) sft.
Kim Tian Road (IRE) 28-1 (11-4) Narrowly headed from under 1f out, kept on well without matching winner, 2nd of 14, nk behind Misspublican (10-13) at Tramore 2m mrs nh flat fm in Aug.
Midnight Paradise 100-1 (9-12) Behind, last and struggling 4 out, pulled up before next, in a race won by Filbert (10-12) at Exeter 2m 3f nov hdl (4) gs, 16 ran.