led, soon clear, headed 4 out, rallied and every chance next, jumped left and blundered last, weakened flat
in touch, outpaced 3 out, headway approaching last, stayed on well closing stages, never reached winner
chased leaders, effort 3 out, weakened approaching last
tracked leader, led 4 out, headed next, kept on under pressure
held up towards rear, headway 5 out, led 3 out, hard driven, held on well
held up in rear, blundered 4th, headway after 3 out, chased leaders last, kept on same pace flat
chased leaders, outpaced after 4 out, soon beaten
Khage was making giant strides over timber in the spring, winning twice at Chepstow. He is expected to handle the switch to fences with aplomb and should take all the beating in this, despite top weight. But HILL SIXTEEN looks every inch a chaser and is receiving 12lb from Harry Whittington’s charge. His sole victory over hurdles came on this track in February and, though he races over 2m for the first time, he’ll know his job and conditions will be in his favour. Esprit Du Large also ended last season racing over further but has won over the minimum so has the speed to cope. Smiths Cross should make a better chaser than hurdler so is preferred to West To The Bridge and Buster Valentine of the others.
Khage (IRE) 4-5fav (11-13) Jumped well, made all, came easily clear before 2 out, unchallenged, won at Chepstow 2m (4) gs in Apr beating Oleg (11-0) by 4 1/2l, 13 ran.
Esprit Du Large (FR) 8-1 (10-5) In touch, outpaced 3 out, never on terms, weakened before last, 10th of 21, 35 1/4l behind Three Musketeers (10-5) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp (1) sft in Apr.
Buster Valentine (IRE) 3-1fav (11-2) Held up in rear, slow 7th, headway to chase leaders 5 out, weakened quickly next, pulled up before 3 out, at Ayr 2m 4f hcp (3) sft in Mar.
Smiths Cross (IRE) 2-5fav (11-2) Led, not fluent 4 out, headed approaching 2 out, weakened last, 4th of 9, 10 1/2l behind Alrightjack (11-2) at Lingfield 2m mdn (4) sft in Feb.
The King Of May (FR) 10-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, not fluent 3rd, pushed along when slightly hampered and left 2nd 2 out, no impression on winner, 2nd of 4, 9l behind Mont Des Avaloirs (11-6) at Market Rasen 2m 1f (4) sft in Apr.
West To The Bridge (IRE) 15-2 (10-12) Led, jumped right 4th, headed 2 out, weakened last, 9th of 19, 21 1/4l behind Chief Justice (11-2) at Aintree 2m hcp (2) gd in Apr.
Hill Sixteen 7-1 (10-4) Tracked leaders, ridden 3 out, 4th and no impression before 2 out, stayed on same pace, 4th of 18, 17l behind Poker Play (10-7) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp (2) hvy in Mar.
River Frost 8-1 (11-0) Close up, ridden and outpaced 4 out, last of 4, 31 1/4l behind Tonto's Spirit (11-12) at Sedgefield 2m (4) sft in Oct.