Don McCain's Alpha Way has shown some promise in two starts over hurdles having run creditably in a couple of point-to-points and has to be considered but if WASHINGTON IRVING can show anything like the sort of form that he showed on the level, he will take plenty of beating and gets the vote over Rosbay. Tim Easterby's gelding was going well before falling at the sixth at Wetherby last time earlier this month and had run well on his only previous start this season, showing better form than last term. He should win races judged by the promise of those runs this season and his recent flat form and makes more appeal than Lucinda Russell's Battle Group, who has struggled under a penalty in his last two starts in bumpers and lacks any hurdling experience. Midnite Blews faces no easy task under the penalty for his win in a handicap at Perth, while Sue Smith's Shadrack has given little sign for encouragement so far. Washington Irving was useful on the flat for Aidan O'Brien being good enough to be placed in group races on two occasions and if he can take to hurdles then Howard Johnson's gelding could be one to follow in future months.
Midnite Blews (IRE) 20-1 (11-2) Led, headed 2 out, one pace, 3rd of 12, 9l behind Bishops Heir (10-7) at Kelso 2m nh nov hdl (4) hvy.
Alpha Way (GER) 11-8fav (10-12) Led, soon clear, headed 3 out, soon weakened, 6th of 7, well behind Le Platino (10-12) at Haydock 2m 4f nov hdl (4) hvy.
Battle Group 9-1 (11-4) Took keen hold, soon pressing leader, racing awkwardly after 5f, took narrow lead 5f out, headed over 3f out, veered left over 1f out, weakened final furlong, 6th of 10, 14l behind Start Me Up (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m NH flat (4) gf in Oct.
Braden Brook (IRE) 150-1 (10-7) Held up mid-division, weakened after 4 out, tailed off, 15th of 16, 40l behind King In Waiting (11-0) at Newcastle 2m mdn hdl (5) gd in Oct.
Cream of Esteem 40-1 (10-9) Always behind, tailed off when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Charlie Tipple (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) sft, 8 ran.
Franklee 100-1 (10-5) Led to after 3rd, chased leader, lost place and weakened quickly after 6th, pulled up before next, in a race won by Always Bold (11-5) at Musselburgh 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs, 12 ran.
Naughty Diesel 150-1 (10-5) Raced keenly, led, headed after 3 out, soon weakened, 6th of 8, well behind Charlie Tipple (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) sft.
Oil Burner Sir Harry Lewis gelding out of Quick Quote.
Rosbay (IRE) 7-2fav (10-4) Mid-division when fell 4 out, in a race won by Fushe Jo (11-7) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft, 9 ran.
Washington Irving (IRE) 50-1 (9-0) Took keen hold, held up in last trio, dropped to rear over 6f out, soon lost touch, pulled up approaching 2f out, in a race won by Yeats (9-2) at Royal Ascot 2m 4f Grp 1 (1) gf in Jun, 9 ran (flat).
What A Steel (IRE) 28-1 (10-12) Mid-division, weakened 2 out, 6th of 14, well behind Going Wrong (10-12) at Carlisle 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) sft.
Whiddy Island (IRE) 5-1 (12-0) Mid div best, 6th at 5th, dropped last from 9th & cto when pu aftr 3out, in a race won by Shamrock Hall (12-0) at Carrigtwohill 3m ire ptp in Feb, 13 ran.
Shadrack (IRE) 20-1 (10-7) Made most to 6th, chased leaders, lost place approaching 3 out, weakened, 5th of 9, well behind Frankie Anson (10-12) at Wetherby 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) sft.