Little Pop proved no match for Saint Thomas at Bangor but is open to improvement and one of several bumper winners lining up here. Chalk It Down, successful at Newton Abbot in August, is another while Kim Bailey runs both Grand March and winning pointer West End. Celtic Abbey, Fiddlesticks and Portway Flyer are already starting to look exposed, however, while Farasi Kubwa, Keen Eye and No Routine may need the experience. JOHN REEL's third at Newbury in January was a fair run and he can make a winning start to his hurdling career with Vinnieslittle Lamb possibly best of the rest.
Celtic Abbey 11-4fav (11-0) Mid-division, headway 5th, led after 3 out, headed before 2 out, immediately beaten, mistake last, 7th of 12, 24l behind Thinger Licht (10-6) at Towcester 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Mar.
Chalk It Down (IRE) 15-8fav (11-7) Held up in rear, pushed along and headway over 5f out, stayed on same pace from over 1f out, no impression, 4th of 14, 4 1/2l behind Indian Stream (10-4) at Worcester 2m NH flat (6) gd in Sep.
Farasi Kubwa Millenary gelding out of Lily Grey.
Fiddleesticks (IRE) 15-2 (11-1) In touch, mistake 7th, struggling 4 out, 5th of 11, 30l behind Count Guido Deiro (11-1) at Towcester 2m 5f mdn hdl (5) sft in Mar.
Grand March 9-2 (11-0) Prominent, ridden 4f out, stayed on same pace from over 1f out, 3rd of 13, 15l behind Mrs Jordan (10-7) at Stratford 2m NH flat (6) gs in Sep.
John Reel (FR) 2-1fav (10-12) Took keen hold, tracked leaders on inside, lost place 5f out, soon closed again, went 2nd 3f out, every chance over 1f out, stayed on inside final furlong, no impression on winner final 100 yards, 2nd of 10, 2 1/4l behind Sergeant Thunder (10-12) at Ludlow 2m NH flat (5) gd in Apr.
Keen Eye (IRE) Milan gelding out of Jolivia.
Little Pop 5-2fav (11-0) Led, wandered into 5th where not fluent, ridden and headed 2 out, soon no impression on winner, 2nd of 9, 15l behind Saint Thomas (11-0) at Bangor 2m 1f mdn hdl (5) gd in Sep.
Mattie's Passion (IRE) 100-1 (11-0) Mid-division, weakened 3 out, 12th of 14, well behind Ballyalton (11-0) at Uttoxeter 2m mdn hdl (5) gd.
Midnight Request Midnight Legend gelding out of Friendly Request.
No Routine (IRE) Beneficial gelding out of Mixwayda.
Portway Flyer (IRE) 14-1 (10-10) Mid-division on outside, mistake 1st, headway 4th, weakened after 7th, 6th of 11, well behind Drop Out Joe (11-0) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd in Sep.
West End (IRE) 16-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders on inside, ridden and outpaced after 4 out, weakened from next, tailed off, 9th of 15, well behind Carlton Jack (10-11) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f 4yo mdn stks (5) gd.
Fairweather Friend 12-1 (9-13) Led, hung right and headed 7f out, weakened over 2f out, last of 9, well behind Diamond King (11-11) at Bangor 2m 1f cond NH flat (6) gd in Apr.
Vinnieslittle Lamb (IRE) 7-2 (10-12) Tracked leaders on inside, weakened approaching 2 out, 6th of 13, 40l behind Miss Ballantyne (10-12) at Huntingdon 2m 5f mrs nov hdl (4) sft in Feb.