Despite facing only three rivals, ex-pointer Carli King faces a stiff task on his debut under Rules as he needs further. Colour Squadron was a shade disappointing last season considering he was a useful novice hurdler. But he is still qualified to run in novice chases this season, which is a plus. RAYA STAR kept very good company over timber last season, finishing second in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day. He should jump fences and probably has a bit more class than Tanerko Emery, who prefers very soft or heavy ground. The latter improved throughout last season over hurdles, however, and shouldn't be ignored.
Carli King (IRE) 3-1 (12-0) Mid div, mstk 5out, 2nd & chall 3out, gd jump 2out & ld, sl adv flat, just held on Fin 1st, disq & plcd 2nd, 2nd of 10, 1/2l behind Soaring High (12-0) at Dromahane 3m ire ptp in Mar.
Colour Squadron (IRE) 9-2fav (11-11) Took keen hold, mid-division, headway when hit 8th, tracking leaders when started to hang left after 3 out, never able to challenge, continued to hang badly left, one pace flat, 5th of 20, 14l behind Rajdhani Express (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 4f (1) sft in Mar.
Raya Star (IRE) 25-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, mistake 3rd, fell 4 out, in a race won by Zarkandar (11-7) at Aintree 2m 4f hdl G1 (1) gd in Apr, 9 ran.
Tanerko Emery (FR) 10-1 (10-13) Held up towards rear, headway under pressure after 2 out, ridden before last, kept on flat, never nearer, 5th of 28, 10l behind Ted Veale (10-6) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl G3 (1) gs in Mar.