BEAR'S AFFAIR was much the best of these over hurdles and goes well fresh, as he proved when winning on his reappearance last season. He has the size and scope to make a chaser and can come out on top in what looks a decent beginners' chase. Tony Star has already had six starts over fences but has been placed in a Grade 3 handicap and should be winning soon while Dartford Warbler arrives off the back of hurdles wins here and at Cartmel and is another imposing individual. Ballinvarrig, Le Bec and Spanish Optimist should also pay their way in the coming months but may be best watched on this occasion.
Ballinvarrig (IRE) 6-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, ridden to chase winner who was clear when jumping right and mistake 3 out, no impression, went right again last 2, stayed on same pace, 2nd of 11, 18l behind Neltara (10-12) at Uttoxeter 3m nov hdl (4) gd in Apr.
Bear's Affair (IRE) 12-1 (11-7) Towards rear, blundered badly 5th, soon pulled up, in a race won by Solwhit (11-7) at Aintree 3m hdl G1 (1) gs in Apr, 13 ran.
Dartford Warbler (IRE) 7-1 (11-0) Prominent, led before 3 out, soon ridden, edged left flat, all out, won at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gd in Sep beating Man Of Leisure (11-9) by 1 1/2l, 7 ran.
Le Bec (FR) 7-4fav (11-6) Chased leaders, pushed along and outpaced before 2 out, plugged on, 4th of 10, 12l behind Le Reve (11-6) at Kempton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Apr.
Sandanski (IRE) 11-8 (10-13) Tracked leader until 8th, soon ridden, switched right before next, weakened approching 3 out, 4th of 6, 22l behind Academy General (10-13) at Worcester 2m 7f nh nov hdl (4) gd in May.
Spanish Optimist (IRE) 12-1 (10-13) Made all, not fluent, mistake 6th, driven out, won at Uttoxeter 3m nov hdl (4) gs in May '12 beating Duke Of Monmouth (10-13) by 5l, 6 ran.
Tony Star (FR) 10-1 (11-4) Held up in rear, headway when not fluent 4 out, close 3rd 2 out, stayed on same pace flat, 3rd of 14, 3l behind Fairy Rath (10-6) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gd in May.