Gabreselassie's recent run behind Princeful may receive a boost on Thursday afternoon however a chance is taken on LONG HOP with Soft Spoken Guy joining Vodka Brook and The Gossmoor Yank on the list of dangers. Alan King's horses are in good form and this gelding comes here on the back of a fair enough fourth behind Missoula at Fontwell. That form has since been franked and he looks sure to improve for both the experience gained during that run and also the stiffer test of stamina today. Vodka Brook's win last time in handicap company showed that he is no mug and he has claims back in Novice company despite his large weight. The Gossmoor Yank was a course and distance winner when last seen in November. That was not a strong event but this former Irish point-to-pointer (an ¿80,000 purchase at Cheltenham last year) looks a lively contender here. Soft Spoken Guy makes his hurdling debut this afternoon. He was far from disgraced when last seen at Naas when second to Pandorama under a penalty and this exciting son of Saddlers' Hall is a big big player today. Stable form concerns surround Timaquan Warrior who returns from two years off, so a bigger threat may be Radmores Revenge who had some solid form prior to winning over three miles here last time. That proven stamina will put him in good stead, however it is Long Hop who can catch his rivals out.
Vodka Brook (IRE) 15-2 (11-4) Mid-division, headway after 3 out, led on bit 2 out, clear last, easily, won at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gs beating Rathcor (11-10) by 13l, 19 ran.
Radmores Revenge 12-1 (11-3) Held up, ridden and headway 4 out, stayed on well to lead approaching last, all out, won at Chepstow 3m mdn hdl (5) hvy beating Mr Mackay (11-6) by a ns, 13 ran.
The Gossmoor Yank (IRE) 10-3 (11-0) Tracked leaders throughout, not fluent 6th, led 3 out, challenged 2 out, ridden approaching last, kept on, won at Chepstow 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gs in Nov beating Any Currency (11-0) by 3/4l, 15 ran.
Another Winnie 50-1 (10-9) In touch, pulled hard, steadied after 4th, weakened 8th, tailed off, 8th of 10, well behind Gypsy George (10-12) at Uttoxeter 3m nov hdl (4) sft in Nov.
Gabreselassie (IRE) 3-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders, ridden to challenge approaching 2 out, kept on same pace, 2nd of 12, 4l behind Princeful (11-5) at Fakenham 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs.
Long Hop (IRE) 6-1 (10-12) Mid-division, ridden approaching 3 out, went modest 4th after last, never a danger, 4th of 15, 18l behind Missoula (10-5) at Fontwell 2m 4f nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Soft Spoken Guy (IRE) 5-1 (11-11) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, ridden into 2nd entering straight, no impression leader from under 2f out, kept on one pace, 2nd of 10, 14l behind Pandorama (12-0) at Naas 2m 3f nhf sft in Oct.
Timaquan Warrior 25-1 (10-7) Held up mid-division, tailed off 6f out, 10th of 15, well behind Dave's Dream (10-10) at Uttoxeter 2m nhf (6) gd in May '07.
Winchester Red 17-2 (11-4) Led, jumped left 3rd, not fluent next, jumped left 5th, headed just after 3 out, weakened approaching 2 out, 5th of 12, 23l behind Kilvergan Boy (11-4) at Towcester 2m nov hdl (3) sft.
Flow Gently Along (IRE) 33-1 (11-1) Mid-division on outside, ridden and struggling soon after 3 out, 14th of 16, 42l behind Awesome George (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 1f nov hcp hdl 0-120 (3) gs.