FIRST STREAM is taken to make a winning debut over timber at the main expense of the penalised Divers and the dangerous front-runner Knockara Beau. The selection is a German recruit and he has his first start for the in-form Howard Johnson yard this afternoon. He was a Group-class horse on the continent and despite an unspectacular strike-rate, this 150,000 guineas purchase is taken to start his jumping career off on the right foot. Knockara Beau should not be given too much rope in front if connections revert to front-running tactics. He put in a much improved effort last time out when third in a decent race at Kelso and with his bumper form from last season reading well it would be no surprise to see a big effort here. Stormin Exit has run two good races at the track. This former point-to-pointer is now stepped up in trip for his hurdling bow and he looks the type to improve for the test. Divers was a course and distance winner back in December but the gelding is now penalised for that win and he looks up against it despite having the ground in his favour if it stays good. A fair start to the card, with the vote going to First Stream.
Divers (FR) 10-3 (11-0) Mid-division, tracked leaders approaching 3 out, led 2 out, driven flat, won at Musselburgh 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) gd in Dec beating Starbougg (10-4) by 4l, 13 ran.
Art Bank 66-1 (11-4) Always behind, lost touch after 4 out, tailed off when pulled up 3 out in race won by Woody Waller (10-7) at Musselburgh 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Jan, 13 ran.
First Stream (GER) 28-1 (9-6) Never a threat, 4th of 6, 19l behind Kamsin (8-7) at Cologne 1m 4f Grp 1 (1) gd in Aug (Flat).
Francesco (FR) 100-1 (11-5) Mid-division, weakened 5 out, 9th of 16, well behind Tarablaze (11-11) at Haydock 2m 4f nov hdl (4) sft.
Knockara Beau (IRE) 11-4 (10-5) Tracked leaders, keen early, ridden and hit 2 out, soon one pace, 3rd of 11, 5l behind Merrydown (10-12) at Kelso 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Nov.
Lord Ragnar (IRE) 5-1 (10-12) Raced keenly in touch, took closer order 3 out, ridden next, faded and hung left run-in, 5th of 17, 15l behind Somersby (10-12) at Kempton 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Silverdales 28-1 (10-0) Held up, always behind, raced wide, weakened 4 out and pulled up 2 out in race won by Norminster (11-2) at Carlisle 2m hcp chs 0-90 (5) hvy in Dec, 10 ran.
Stormin Exit (IRE) 11-1 (11-2) Led, ridden over 3f out, headed 2f out, no extra, 2nd of 9, 4l behind Meridian City (11-9) at Musselburgh 2m nhf (5) gd in Dec.
Bumble Rose (IRE) 66-1 (10-11) Mid division, weakened approaching 3 out, lost touch from next, 9th of 13, well behind Woody Waller (10-7) at Musselburgh 2m nov hdl (4) gs in Jan.
Free Satnav Dotcom (IRE) 50-1 (10-10) Held up, headway 5th, chased leaders approaching 4 out, ridden, weakened next, 6th of 7, 43l behind Brackenmoss (10-7) at Ayr 2m mrs nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Lady Chatelaine (IRE) 12-1 (10-12) In touch, lost place 4 out, soon weakened, tailed off, 10th of 11, well behind Pinewood Legend (10-9) at Ayr 2m nov hcp hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Royal Citadel (IRE) 80-1 (11-2) Mid-division, headway 4th, weakened approaching 3 out, 9th of 16, well behind Topflight Wildbird (10-13) at Newcastle 2m mrs mdn hdl (4) sft in Jan '08.