Slim Pickens was a very smooth winner of a maiden hurdle at Southwell last week and his yard is in terrific form. But this is a much more competitive affair and Master Malt, who got off the mark at Exeter last month, and Stratford third Vodka 'n Tonic should make their presence felt representing powerful stables. DEGOOCH has a bit to find on the form book but showed a very willing attitude to beat a previous winner at Carlisle, despite making a few mistakes. His jumping will improve with experience and he should have the speed for this having won and been placed in bumpers.
Degooch (IRE) 8-13fav (10-12) Held up towards rear, headway after 3 out, every chance next, led last, ran on well, won at Carlisle 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gd in May beating Lord Brendy (11-5) by 4 1/2l, 8 ran.
Master Malt 11-2 (11-0) Chased leaders, lost several places 3rd, closed 3 out, led approaching last, stayed on well, won at Exeter 2m 1f mdn hdl (4) gd in May beating Maxi Chop (11-0) by 2l, 17 ran.
Slim Pickens (IRE) 11-8fav (11-0) Chased leaders, led before 2 out, ran on well from last, won at Southwell 2m 4f NH mdn hdl (5) gf beating Reverb (10-11) by 5l, 13 ran.
Jackthejourneyman (IRE) 40-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, headway from 3 out, went 4th last, unable to get on terms, 4th of 11, 3l behind Mandy's Boy (10-10) at Ludlow 2m mdn hdl (4) gd in May.
Vodka 'n Tonic (IRE) 2-1fav (10-12) Took keen hold, soon led, jumped right 1st, hit 3rd, went right 5th, headed after 2 out, no extra before last, 3rd of 14, 21l behind Manjakani (10-12) at Stratford 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in May.
Indiefront 50-1 (10-5) Held up towards rear, headway before 4 out, weakened 3 out, tailed off, 8th of 9, well behind Stiff Upper Lip (10-9) at Towcester 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr.