Just six to post for the opener and OSRIC is likely to be popular. Nicky Henderson hasn't bothered to hang around over hurdles having won a maiden and a novice event and if he handles the drop back to two miles, he will be a difficult nut to crack. Knockavilla won readily at Sedgefield against modest opposition and takes an effective step up in class. Quell The Storm makes a debut for Milton Harris having left Paul Nicholls. Blacktoft is likely to front run though can make errors. Gilbarry has a bit to prove on hurdles form though should have few issues in relation to the going.
Blacktoft (USA) 10-3 (11-10) Chased leader, fell 5th, in a race won by Mam Ratagan (11-7) at Ffos Las 2m nov chs (4) gf, 4 ran.
Knockavilla (IRE) 10-11fav (10-12) Led until after 1st, chased leader, led again 5th, in command from 3 out, stayed on well, won at Sedgefield 2m 4f nov chs (4) gf in Apr beating Dontpaytheferryman (10-12) by 4l, 9 ran.
Quell The Storm (FR) 15-8fav (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway 4th, not fluent 6th, pushed along before 3 out, soon beaten, weakened after 2 out, 4th of 7, 24l behind Pouvoir (10-12) at Uttoxeter 2m nov chs (4) gs in Sep.
Alaskan Prince (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) Keen early, held up 3rd and last, lost touch 4 out, left remote 2nd and sole rival next, no chance with winner, 2nd of 3, well behind Medermit (11-2) at Aintree 2m nov chs (3) gs.
Gilbarry (IRE) 10-3 (10-13) Tracked leaders, led after 3 out, ridden approaching and mistake next, stayed on well from last, won at Market Rasen 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr beating Kellystown Lad (10-12) by 4 1/2l, 9 ran.
Osric (IRE) 10-11fav (11-5) Held up, tracked leading pair from 3rd, went 2nd after 5th, led approaching 2 out, soon clear, easily, won at Newton Abbot 2m 3f nov hdl (4) gf in Jun beating Calon Crwbin (11-5) by 14l, 6 ran.