Holywell was a progressive staying hurdler last season and finished a long way ahead of Ardkilly Witness over the smaller obstacles at Cheltenham in March. But he's been a big disappointment in two runs over fences so far and may need further than this nowadays. Jonjo O'Neill's charge is taken on again with the lightly-raced PROVO, who is unlikely to fail through lack of fitness and looked a chaser in the making in two runs over timber last year. Lamb Or Cod has won a Grade 3 over hurdles and is no mug. But he lacks consistency while Fourovakind has a preferred engagement at Towcester.
Ardkilly Witness (IRE) 6-1 (11-2) Jumped right, tracked winner, led after 13th, headed 4 out, soon ridden, lost 2nd before 3 out, disputing 2 lengths 3rd when left modest 3rd 3 out, 3rd of 5, 30l behind Just A Par (11-2) at Newbury 3m nov chs Grade 2 (1) gs in Nov.
Fourovakind 18-1 (11-6) Held up towards rear, some headway before 2 out, soon weakened, 9th of 21, 26l behind Mickie (11-3) at Newbury 3m hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gs in Nov.
Holywell (IRE) 6-4fav (11-0) Not always fluent, in touch headway to chase leaders 7th, pushed along after 4 out, went 2nd before next, driven and no impression before last, hit last, stayed on strongly in closing stages, just held, 2nd of 9, hd behind Hi George (11-0) at Catterick 2m 3f beg chs (4) gd.
Lamb Or Cod (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) Prominent, ridden and lost place approaching 3 out, plugged on flat but well held, 5th of 11, 10l behind Like Minded (11-1) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft.
Provo (IRE) 1-3fav (11-5) Chased leaders, went 2nd 8th, led before 3 out, mistake and headed 3 out, chased winner, no extra and held before last, stayed on for clear 2nd, 2nd of 13, 5l behind Cloudy Copper (10-12) at Exeter 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Nov '12.
Ruapehu (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) Led, hit 4th, joined 6th, headed approaching 8th, soon lost 2nd, stayed on same pace in 3rd and no chance with leading duo from 4 out, 3rd of 5, 27l behind Pendra (11-7) at Lingfield 2m nov chs (4) hvy in Nov.