Kevin Prendergast's Oddshoes has performed better on more suitable ground of late and he has solid claims on the evidence of the defeat of Ffos Las Diamond at Hereford last month but he does seem a shade high in the weights and preference is for WADE FARM BILLY, who gets the verdict with Calaficial rated the best of the rest. The selection, a bumper winner a year ago, has shown gradual improvement in recent starts over hurdles and given that he is open to further improvement Gary Moore's gelding looks the one they all have to beat. Pilgrims Lane did not beat much when landing a similar contest at Hereford last month and, like Oddshoes, may struggle under his penalty. Bingo des Mottes is less exposed than most of these after just four starts but he needs to improve on all known form to trouble the judge, while Wizard of Odds is unlikely to run following his effort at Towcester yesterday. Alan King's Calaficial was going well when falling two out at Market Rasen at the beginning of the month and has every chance provided that he is none the worse after that tumble. Marginal preference though is for Wade Farm Billy, who looks to be going the right way over hurdles.
Oddshoes (IRE) 40-1 (10-4) Chased leader to 5th, weakened next, behind when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Noble Alan (10-5) at Ayr 2m hcp hdl Gr2 (1) gd, 14 ran.
Pilgrims Lane (IRE) 6-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, led approaching 2 out, soon ridden and ran on, won at Hereford 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Mar beating Nordwind (10-11) by 1 3/4l, 7 ran.
Always Cruising (USA) 15-8fav (10-4) Mid-division, headway after 3 out, ridden and chased leaders 2 out, switched right approaching last, led flat, all out to dead heat post, won at Wincanton 2m mdn hdl (4) gf deadheating with Jackers (10-9), 10 ran.
Abbey Dore (IRE) 80-1 (10-7) Led until fell 3rd, in a race won by Nothing's Easy (11-0) at Kempton 2m nov hdl (4) gd in Mar, 7 ran.
Bampy's Last Baryshnikov gelding out of Country Town.
Calaficial (IRE) 7-2 (10-13) Held up, in touch 3rd, challenged on bit when fell 2 out, in a race won by Monterrico (10-4) at Market Rasen 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gd, 8 ran.
Itsawindup 66-1 (10-10) Always behind, well in rear when blundered 2 out, 9th of 11, 45l behind High Standard (11-0) at Plumpton 2m mdn hdl (5) gf in May.
Mageniken (USA) 100-1 (10-11) Mid-division, mistake 3rd, weakened 7th, 10th of 13, well behind Bremen (11-5) at Fontwell 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Sep.
Wade Farm Billy (IRE) 7-2 (11-0) Left in lead 1st, ridden when headed approaching last and hit last, no response, 2nd of 12, 9l behind You're The Top (11-0) at Kempton 2m NH mdn hdl (5) gd in Mar.
Wizard of Odds 20-1 (11-1) Took keen hold, led 3rd, weakening when headed 2 out, 7th of 15, 17l behind Kangaroo Court (11-4) at Lingfield 2m 3f nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Bingo des Mottes (FR) 100-1 (10-7) Led and soon clear, ridden 3 out, headed 2 out and weakening, 3rd of 11, 18l behind Marchand D'argent (10-13) at Chepstow 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd.
Holden Caulfield (IRE) 13-2 (8-11) In touch on outside, effort 2f out, ridden, kept on until no extra final furlong, 8th of 14, 7l behind Amicable Terms (8-12) at Redcar 1m 2f 3yo hcp (6) gf in Jun (flat).
Barton Lora 6-1 (10-7) Always towards rear, pulled up after 3 out, in a race won by Always Cruising (10-4) at Wincanton 2m mdn hdl (4) gf, 10 ran.
The Kiwi Matriarch 40-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders and keen, weakened 7f out, soon behind, 14th of 16, well behind Bella Haze (10-7) at Hereford 2m 1f N H flat (6) gd in Nov.