BELLVANO will find this tougher but he looks a potential superstar and is fancied to see off Inventor in an intriguing opener. Nicky Henderson's son of Silvano sauntered to victory on his hurdling bow at Newbury, coming ten lengths clear of Prince Buster. The form of that race is yet to be truly franked however he is very highly-thought-of and is open to more improvement. It might be worth bearing in mind that he failed to go with the field when seen here in February, but that may have been down to jockey error as much as anything and this 10/1 chance for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in March can win again. Cootehill has experience on his side and won't go down without a fight but he has struggled under penalties since winning a Listed race here in October, Dr Livingstone made a bright start over hurdles at Leicester but the form looks weak, so a bigger player may be Inventor. Rated 100 on the flat, connections found themselves a bargain when buying him for 15,000 guineas at the Newmarket sales in October. He won tidily at Ascot and Manyriverstocross has come out and won since, franking the form. King Olav finished second and he reopposes today; he had talent on the flat and is not one to take lightly with an 8lb pull in the weights. Menorah drops back in trip which should suit, however with the others just making up the numbers, it is the class-act Bellvano who can triumph.
Bellvano (GER) 10-11fav (11-0) Mid-division, headway approaching 4th, led before 2 out, hung left approaching last, stayed on strongly to draw clear flat, eased towards finish, won at Newbury 2m NH mdn hdl (3) gs in Nov beating Prince Buster (11-0) by 10l, 13 ran.
Cootehill (IRE) 11-1 (11-8) Led, soon clear, reduced lead 3 out, headed after 2 out, weakened before last, 3rd of 8, 16l behind General Miller (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 1f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (3) sft.
Dr Livingstone (IRE) 4-1 (10-12) Mid-division, headway 5th, not fluent 2 out, led approaching last, ridden flat, stayed on well, won at Leicester 2m nh nov hdl (3) gf beating Pearlysteps (10-9) by 1 3/4l, 15 ran.
Inventor (IRE) 14-1 (10-9) Mid-division, hit 2nd, headway after 3 out, pressed leaders approaching 2 out, switched left approaching last, ridden and ran on to lead towards finish, won at Ascot 2m hdl (3) gd in Nov beating King Olav (11-0) by 1 1/4l, 10 ran.
Farleigh House (USA) 7-2 (10-7) Mid-division, headway to chase leaders approaching 3 out, led next, driven out, won at Doncaster 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd beating Dhaular Dhar (10-12) by 1/2l, 13 ran.
Menorah (IRE) 10-11fav (11-5) Close up, with leader 5th, led approaching 3 out headed 2 out, hit last no extra, 2nd of 14, 10l behind Bobby Ewing (10-12) at Doncaster 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gd.
Another Miracle 150-1 (10-12) Held up in rear, never dangerous, 9th of 15, 39l behind Dr Livingstone (10-12) at Leicester 2m nh nov hdl (3) gf.
King Olav (UAE) 20-1 (11-0) Keen, led, headed 3 out, ridden to lead again bend approaching 2 out, driven and edged left flat, headed towards finish, 2nd of 10, 1 1/4l behind Inventor (10-9) at Ascot 2m hdl (3) gd in Nov.