HIGHWAY COMPANION has raced over these obstacles in all three outings over hurdles so far and this looks easier than his latest task when fourth on his handicap debut. A tongue-tie may bring further improvement today and Keith Dalgleish’s charge gets the vote. Christmas In Usa disappointed at Market Rasen having won at Sedgefield earlier and Rubytwo looks a bigger threat having finished runner-up at Wetherby on her first start since May. Lostock Hall ended last season with a victory at Newcastle and is 5lb higher for this while Paper Promise won a novices event at the same track in March. Politeness is another returning to action and scored off today’s mark back in 2018.
Paper Promise (IRE) 1-2fav (10-12) Led, hit 3 out, headed approaching last, 4 lengths down run-in, rallied final 100 yards, rallied to lead again towards finish, won at Newcastle 2m (4) hvy in Mar beating Darling Du Large (10-12) by 3/4l, 7 ran.
Politeness (FR) 12-1 (10-2) Took keen hold, tracked leaders, hit 4 out, pushed along before 2 out, went 3rd 2 out, kept on same pace, 3rd of 6, 8 1/4l behind Caius Marcius (10-12) at Perth 2m hcp (2) gd in Aug.
Highway Companion (IRE) 11-4fav (11-2) Held up in rear, not fluent 3rd, headway on inside before 2 out, ridden between last 2, kept on same pace, no impression, 4th of 9, 7 1/4l behind Spirit Of Kayf (12-1) at Kelso 2m 5f hcp (4) hvy in Nov.
Getaway Gerry 28-1 (10-12) Held up, ridden and weakened 2 out(normal 3 out), tailed off when pulled up before last), at Hexham 2m 4f (4) hvy in Nov.
Lostock Hall (IRE) 11-4fav (12-0) Always prominent, led 3 out, ridden and headed narrowly last, led again final 100 yards, all out, won at Newcastle 2m hcp (5) gs in Mar beating Christmas In Usa (11-9) by 1/2l, 12 ran.
Deepsand (IRE) 33-1 (11-11) Held up mid-division, weakened before 3 out, 8th of 14, 26 3/4l behind Frightened Rabbit (11-5) at Carlisle 2m 1f hcp (4) sft in Nov.
Temple Man 20-1 (11-8) Keen, chased leaders, effort before omitted 2 out, soon weakened, 6th of 10, 24 1/2l behind Court Baloo (10-10) at Kelso 3m 2f hcp (4) gs in Oct.
Christmas In Usa (FR) 4-1 (11-10) Made most to 3 out, soon lost place and behind, pulled up next, at Market Rasen 2m 1f hcp (5) sft in Nov.
Timesawaiting (IRE) 14-1 (12-0) Chased leaders, weakened after 5 out, behind when pulled up after 3 out, at Ayr 2m 3f hcp (4) hvy in Nov.
Rubytwo 13-2 (11-7) Mid-division, headway chasing leaders 4 out, 2nd next, stayed on same pace, no chance with winner, 2nd of 11, 6l behind No Trumps (11-2) at Wetherby 2m 5f hcp (4) gs in Nov.
Follow Your Fire (IRE) 66-1 (10-12) Always towards rear, 9th of 11, 20l behind Imperial Flem (10-12) at Stratford 2m (3) sft in Oct.
Blooriedotcom (IRE) 28-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway 5 out, one pace from 3 out, 5th of 14, 18 3/4l behind Frightened Rabbit (11-5) at Carlisle 2m 1f hcp (4) sft in Nov.
Western Lass (IRE) 80-1 (11-3) Held up in touch, ridden and weakened before 3 out, 12th of 14, dist behind Frightened Rabbit (11-5) at Carlisle 2m 1f hcp (4) sft in Nov.
Summer Lightening 33-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, weakened before 2 out, 5th of 6, dist behind Darlyn (11-12) at Sedgefield 2m 5f hcp (4) sft in Nov.
Satis House 50-1 (11-9) Prominent, led before 5th, clear approaching 7th until 8th, headed after 3 out, soon weakened, pulled up before last, at Kelso 2m 5f hcp (5) sft in Oct.