All eyes here will be on THE NEW ONE, who attempts to extend his unbeaten record over hurdles and stay on course for Cheltenham. A very smart performer in bumpers last season, he's been impressive so far over timber and can shrug off a three-month absence to beat Hold Court, another who is two out of two over obstacles so far, and Mickie. Henry Daly's mare was well behind Hold Court at Ludlow in the autumn but has made giant strides since and deserves a crack at this level. Dursey Sound represents his yard instead of the useful At Fishers Cross but may be found wanting in this grade and the others need to improve on what they've shown so far to figure.
Hold Court (IRE) 11-4 (11-5) Tracked leaders, challenging when not fluent 3 out, went right and led last, driven out, won at Ludlow 2m 5f hdl (3) gd in Nov beating Enter Paradise (10-4) by 1/2l, 7 ran.
Kitegen (IRE) 10-1 (10-4) In touch, driven and outpaced before 4 out, plugged on again flat, never a threat, 6th of 13, 11l behind Lamb Or Cod (10-0) at Chepstow 2m 4f hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gs in Oct.
The New One (IRE) Evensfav (11-3) Tracked leaders, mistake 5th, not fluent next or 3 out, challenged 2 out, soon led, not fluent last, ridden and pressed 200 yards out, stayed on well and asserted final 100 yards, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f nh nov hdl (2) gs in Oct beating Village Vic (10-12) by 2 3/4l, 9 ran.
Dursey Sound (IRE) 7-2 (11-6) Held up behind in touch, headway after 4 out, led narrowly after next, headed last, ridden and no impression with winner in clear 2nd flat, 2nd of 8, 4l behind Easter Day (11-3) at Ascot 2m 6f nh nov hdl (2) sft in Nov.
Minella Definitely (IRE) 20-1 (10-12) Led, ridden before 2 out, headed last, ridden and rallied to regain lead towards finish, won at Kempton 2m NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) sft in Nov beating Snake Eyes (10-12) by nk, 11 ran.
Timesishard (IRE) 5-1 (10-9) Tracked leaders, challenged 4th, led 2 out, soon headed, stayed on same pace flat, 3rd of 8, 4l behind Two Rockers (10-12) at Towcester 2m 5f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) sft in Dec.
Mickie 6-1 (10-10) Held up behind, smooth headway to track leaders 4 out, led before next, drew clear from 2 out, driven out, won at Ludlow 2m 5f mares NH nov hdl (4) sft in Dec beating Floral Spinner (10-3) by 14l, 12 ran.