This looks by some way to be the best novices' hurdles seen in the UK this season pitching together the likes of Boychuk, Its A Dream, The Cool Guy and Denman with the vote going to the last mentioned. The selection probably needs to improve on the bare form of what he has shown so far but the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding belied his inexperience to comprehensively get the better of the useful Karanja at Wincanton last time on only his second start and, if improving again for that run, he will be tough to beat. Ask The Gatherer has improved with each outing so far but needs to step up again to have any chance in this grade, while Keith Reveley's Ungaro is more exposed than most of these and does not look to be good enough. The Cool Guy had decent form in bumpers but has yet to prove that he is as effective over hurdles, although he is clearly going the right way. Boychuk won a Grade 2 contest at the Open meeting here in November and it will be interesting to see how he handles today's longer trip, while Nicky Henderson's Its A Dream is another that is progressing along the right lines but Denman looks to have a touch a class about him and he gets the vote to remain undefeated.
Ask The Gatherer (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Mid-division, headway after 6th, ridden to lead approaching 2 out, ran on, won at Warwick 2m 5f nov hdl (E) gd in Nov beating Archduke Ferdinand (10-12) by 3 1/2l, 18 ran.
Biscar Two (IRE) 12-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, some moderate progress from 4 out, never on terms, 7th of 15, 19l behind Be Be King (11-5) at Chepstow 2m 4f nov hdl (E) gs in Dec.
Boychuk (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) In touch, headway 5th, stayed on approaching last, went 2nd flat, led final 100 yards, driven out, won at Cheltenham 2m nov hdl Grd 2 (A) gs in Nov beating Buena Vista (11-7) by 2l, 10 ran.
Denman (IRE) 2-1 (11-4) Made all, shaken up and hung left approaching 2 out, pushed clear from last, easily, won at Wincanton 2m 6f nov hdl (D) gd in Nov beating Karanja (10-12) by 15l, 12 ran.
Double Dizzy 7-2 (10-7) Mid-division, mistake 7th, headway 9th, ridden 2 out, kept on but no chance with winner, 2nd of 13, 6l behind What A Vintage (10-5) at Plumpton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (E) sft in Dec.
Its A Dream (IRE) 11-8fav (11-0) Tracked leading pair, challenged 2 out, soon led, ridden clear flat, won at Sandown 2m nh nov hdl (D) gs in Dec beating Pablo Du Charmil (11-8) by 15l, 7 ran.
The Cool Guy (IRE) 4-7fav (11-5) Chased leader, mistake 3rd and 5th, hung left when led and pecked 2 out, clear last, ridden out, won at Haydock 2m 4f nh nov hdl (D) sft in Dec beating Harmony Brig (10-12) by 7l, 14 ran.
Ungaro (FR) 8-15fav (11-10) Tracked leaders, led 3 out, ridden next, headed flat, rallied towards finish, just held, 2nd of 13, shd behind Youlbesolucky (11-0) at Newcastle 2m 4f nh nov hdl (E) gs in Nov.