held up in touch, ridden to challenge 2 out, every chance last, not quickened flat
tracked leader, hit 4th, pushed along 6th, soon weakened, tailed off from 3 out
held up in rear, ridden and headway 3 out, kept on, no impression from next
held up in touch, led after 3 out, soon ridden, under pressure last, all out
tracked leaders, led 3 out, soon headed, weakened next
led, ridden and headed 3 out, soon weakened
Starzaan is selected to defy topweight, ahead of His Nibs and Magic Combination. Starzaan was a progressive juvenile hurdler last term after leaving Paul Cole, starting from just an ordinary novice event at Folkestone, and ending up in the Triumph Hurdle and other top-class affairs at Aintree and Punchestown. Although he starts the season giving weight away, his trainer reports that he has strengthened up considerably, and is sure he will stay the longer trip. The only slight doubt is if the ground turns out to be fast, in which case he would probably be pulled out. His Nibs has taken time to progress after contesting Aintree's Champion Bumper in 2002, but after refusing at the first on his chase debut, quickly made amends when scoring over hurdles at Lingfield. A half-brother to Splendid Thyne, stamina is always going to be his forte, especially when the mud is flying, which it will not be here. Magic Combination, winner of the big summer hurdle here two years ago, has not been seen for well over a year, and is perhaps a light of former days at the age of 10. Il Cavaliere is best watched as well after being pulled up on his return to timber at Aintree, and for the winner we return to Starzaan to teach his older rivals a lesson.