A couple of nice prospects lock horns in this opener with KALASHNIKOV fancied to get the better of the also-unbeaten Irish Prophecy. Amy Murphy’s charge bolted up on his hurdling debut at Wetherby, though the second has been beaten again since. Emma Lavelle’s stable is clicking into gear and Irish Prophecy easily landed a maiden at Sandown last month, despite a few mistakes, so is a big danger. Deyrann de Carjac has hinted at ability in bumpers but it will be a surprise if he can trouble the market leaders on his hurdles bow.
Irish Prophecy (IRE) 4-6fav (11-0) Allowed clear lead and set slow pace, made all, driven between last 2, not fluent last, unchallenged, won at Sandown 2m mdn (4) gs in Nov beating Trust The Man (11-0) by 9l, 9 ran.
Kalashnikov (IRE) 4-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, challenged 3 out, led next, clear last, impressive, won at Wetherby 2m (3) sft in Nov beating Al Shahir (11-0) by 10l, 16 ran.
Bertie Blake (IRE) 200-1 (10-12) Held up mid-division, in 5th place before 3 out, never dangerous, 6th of 10, 25 1/2l behind Wemyss Point (10-12) at Wetherby 2m 4f (4) gs in Nov.
Deyrann de Carjac (FR) 5-1 (11-0) Held up in mid-division, headway on outside chasing leaders over 3f out, went 3rd inside final furlong, 3rd of 11, 3l behind Kateson (11-0) at Chepstow 2m (4) gd in Oct.
Ollie Vaar 66-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway 4 out to chase leaders, weakened from 2 out, 5th of 14, 18 1/4l behind The Last Day (11-5) at Chepstow 2m mdn (4) sft in Nov.
Phoenix Park (GER) 250-1 (10-12) Always behind, weakened before 5 out, pulled up, at Exeter 2m 6f (4) sft in Nov.
The Hiking Viking 20-1 (10-7) Held up in 6th, weakened over 3f out, tailed off, 7th of 9, dist behind Irish Prophecy (11-0) at Kempton 2m (5) gd in Feb.
The Linksman (IRE) 20-1 (10-12) In rear, headway after 2 out, weakened before last, 8th of 10, 32 3/4l behind Go Go Lucas (10-12) at Hexham 2m mdn (4) sft in Nov.