A typically-competitive renewal of this popular Grade 3 which most people still know as the Swinton Hurdle. War Sound won this 12 months ago with stable companion Cheltenian sixth but he has 9lb more to carry this year and Philip Hobbs also runs the in-form WAIT FOR ME. Richard Johnson is on board the latter who was a respectable fourth in the County Hurdle last time when finishing ahead of All Yours, Cheltenian, John Constable and Some Plan. The latter ran in snatches at Cheltenham but has since finished close behind Ch'tibello in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr and could reverse those placings on 5lb better terms. His trainer Paul Nicholls also has the hat-trick seeking All Set To Go in the line-up and he is progressing nicely, as is Gwafa who was unlucky last time at Aintree. Apterix ran well here in March and was then second at Ayr but he's still climbing the weights and is upped in grade today.
Cheltenian (FR) 40-1 (11-12) Mid-division on outside, headway and in touch 3rd, outpaced last (usual 2 out), soon lost place, 15th of 26, 16 3/4l behind Superb Story (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp (1) gd in Mar.
All Yours (FR) 16-1 (11-7) Held up mid-division, hampered 2nd, tracked leaders last (usual 2 out), soon ridden and one pace, no impression after, 12th of 26, 12 1/2l behind Superb Story (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp (1) gd in Mar.
Some Plan (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Held up mid-division, headway before 2 out, ridden run-in, kept on, 4th of 13, 3 1/4l behind Ch'tibello (11-1) at Ayr 2m hcp (1) gs in Apr.
Roman Flight (IRE) 8-15fav (11-9) Held in touch in last, headway 4 out, challenged last, ridden to lead flat, cosily, won at Uttoxeter 2m 4f (4) sft in Jul beating Lemony Bay (11-9) by nk, 6 ran.
Ch'tibello (FR) 8-1 (11-1) Held up towards rear, headway before bypassed 3 out, led before 2 out, hit last, held on well, won at Ayr 2m hcp (1) gs in Apr beating Cloudy Dream (10-13) by 1 1/4l, 13 ran.
Beltor 22-1 (11-7) Took keen hold, held up in 4th, outpaced when hit 3 out, soon weakened, tailed off, last of 7, dist behind Identity Thief (11-7) at Newcastle 2m (1) sft in Nov.
Astre De La Cour (FR) 15-2 (11-2) Led until 8th, not fluent 4 out, weakened before next, 4th of 5, dist behind Garde La Victoire (11-2) at Uttoxeter 2m (4) gs in Oct.
Wait For Me (FR) 7-1jfav (10-13) Held up towards rear, headway before last (usual 2 out), soon chased leaders, stayed on to dispute 3rd from after omtted last, no impression, 4th of 26, 6 1/4l behind Superb Story (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp (1) gd in Mar.
John Constable (IRE) 14-1 (11-3) Tracked leaders, ridden before last, no extra run-in, 6th of 13, 3 1/4l behind Ch'tibello (11-1) at Ayr 2m hcp (1) gs in Apr.
Manhattan Swing (IRE) 50-1 (8-8) Held up, ridden 3f out, never a factor, 14th of 22, 19 1/4l behind Litigant (9-10) at Doncaster 1m 4f hcp (2) hvy in Nov.
Gwafa (IRE) 16-1 (11-4) Held up in mid-division on inside, badly hampered and unseated rider 4th, at Aintree 2m (1) gs in Apr.
Swansea Mile (IRE) 2-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, led 2 out, pressed when rival made error last, clear flat, ran on, won at Kempton 2m (4) gd in Apr beating Broughtons Rhythm (10-12) by 3 1/4l, 9 ran.
Nuts Well 4-9fav (11-5) Tracked leading pair, hit 4th and next, went 2nd between last 2, 2 out, led last, driven clear run-in, won at Newcastle 2m hcp (3) sft in Apr beating Ifandbutwhynot (11-12) by 7l, 4 ran.
All Set To Go (IRE) 4-5fav (11-12) Always prominent, challenging when not fluent 2 out, led last, quickened flat, readily, won at Taunton 2m (4) gd in Apr beating General Ginger (11-12) by 3 1/4l, 9 ran.
Apterix (FR) 11-4fav (11-12) Held up mid-division, headway 4 out to chase leaders, every chance when mistake 2 out, soon ridden, kept on towards finish, 2nd of 9, 3/4l behind Nine Altars (10-11) at Ayr 2m hcp (3) sft in Apr.
Regulation (IRE) 20-1 (11-1) Mid-division, ridden before 2 out, soon weakened, 6th of 7, dist behind Minstrels Gallery (10-3) at Doncaster 2m 1f hcp (2) hvy in Dec.
War Sound 12-1 (11-7) Always behind, 12th of 22, dist behind Agrapart (10-10) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) hvy in Feb.