All-bar L’es Fremantle have won here in the past. Michael Chapman’s long-standing maiden faces an impossible task at the weights and Changing Guard also looks up against it and is not the force of old. Hurricane Rita has been beaten twice at this level since winning a modest handicap over course and distance in January but former stable companion Saucysioux drops into this grade for the first time, though has barely raised a gallop in her last two starts and needs further. ASCENDANT can continue on his merry way as he’s won five of his last six hurdle starts with his only defeat coming in a Class 4 handicap at Ludlow.
Ascendant 2-7fav (11-12) Mid-division in 4th, went 3rd after 3 out, challenged last, soon led, kept on well, won at Sedgefield 2m 4f (5) sft in Jan beating Rock Of Leon (11-5) by 3 1/2l, 7 ran.
Hurricane Rita (FR) 5-1 (11-11) Held up, headway 5th, ridden and weakened before 2 out, 6th of 8, 22l behind Queen Of The Wind (11-9) at Southwell 2m hcp (5) sft in Mar.
Saucysioux 20-1 (11-12) Raced wide, always towards rear, last and struggling when hit 8th, tailed off 3 out, 8th of 9, dist behind After Aspen (11-11) at Lingfield 2m 7f hcp (4) hvy in Feb.
Changing The Guard 9-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, not fluent 5th or 6th, lost place 7th, closed on home bend, outpaced 4 out, jumped left and no extra from 3 out, well held when went left and mistake last, 4th of 5, 28l behind Kilinakin (11-4) at Leicester 2m hcp (4) hvy in Mar.
L'Es Fremantle (FR) 200-1 (10-0) Jumped right, always in rear, tailed off 4 out, last of 5, dist behind Ulis De Vassy (10-3) at Southwell 2m hcp (4) sft in Feb.