Sea Storm has the highest rating of the 13 runners but James Moffatt's Wetherby winner struggled under his penalty at Haydock last time and may do so again here so a better bet looks to be WOODY WALLER, whop gets the verdict with Abolition rated the best of the rest. The selection was capable on the flat, has shown promise from limited opportunities over hurdles and, with Howard Johnson's team in good form, he looks worth siding with. Pontop showed a reasonable level of form in bumpers and has to be of interest first time out over hurdles. Best Horse has disappointed in both starts for Ferdy Murphy and looks best watched for the present, while Simple Jim would need to improve on what he showed on his return to hurdling at Wetherby recently. Richard Fahey's Abolition was the pick of these on the flat and has to be of interest on his debut over timber but marginal preference is for Woody Waller.
Sea Storm (IRE) 33-1 (11-8) Tracked leaders, effort approaching 3 out, ridden approaching next, soon outpaced, 4th of 5, 11l behind Alfie Flits (11-0) at Haydock 2m lst nov hdl (1) gs in Nov.
Art Bank 22-1 (10-12) Always behind, 5th and soon beaten, 7th of 8, well behind Doeslessthanme (11-5) at Musselburgh 2m nov hdl (4) gd in Dec.
Best Horse (FR) 25-1 (11-0) Held up, close up 4 out, ridden next, gradually weakened, 4th of 6, 14l behind Red Moloney (11-5) at Musselburgh 2m hdl (3) gd in Dec.
Byron Bay 66-1 (10-12) Raced keenly, led, headed 3 out, soon weakened, 8th of 12, 23l behind Fortunate Isle (10-12) at Newcastle 2m nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Catai 80-1 (10-7) Tracked leader, ridden 3 out, soon weakened, last of 6, 38l behind Red Moloney (11-5) at Musselburgh 2m hdl (3) gd in Dec.
Dukesfield (IRE) 100-1 (10-9) Always behind, blundered 8th, tailed off when pulled up at the last in race won by On Raglan Road (10-12) at Hexham 3m nov hdl (4) gs in Oct, 8 ran.
Pontop (IRE) 50-1 (11-4) In touch, pushed along over 3f out, soon ridden and weakened, 10th of 12, 25l behind Shinrock Paddy (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m nhf lst (1) sft in Nov.
Simple Jim (FR) 18-1 (10-12) Held up, headway approaching 3 out, went moderate 3rd between last 2, kept on same pace, 3rd of 10, 21l behind Teenage Idol (10-12) at Wetherby 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec.
Strobe 16-1 (9-9) Tracked leader, led approaching 3 out, ridden and headed approaching next, soon weakened, 4th of 12, 12l behind Kyber (10-5) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Dec.
Bumble Rose (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Held up in touch, weakened 4 out, last of 7, well behind Brackenmoss (10-7) at Ayr 2m mrs nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Abolition (USA) 6-1 (8-11) With leader, ridden over 2f out, soon beaten, last of 7, 11l behind Art Master (9-0) at Kempton 1m 2yo stk (3) pol in Oct '07 (Flat).
Bespoke Boy 20-1 (10-0) Raced keenly, held up mid-division, headway 2 out, hit last, stayed on flat, 4th of 14, 18l behind Calcutta Cup (11-6) at Catterick 2m mdn hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Woody Waller 13-8jt-fav (11-0) Led until 2 out, soon under pressure and one pace, 3rd of 7, 4l behind Walkon (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 3yo nov hdl (2) gd in Nov.