took keen hold towards rear, headway after 4 out, soon ridden and weakened, behind when hampered by loose horse after 2nd last
chased leaders, progress to lead after 3 out, fell next
held up in rear, headway approaching 3 out, chasing leaders when hampered 2 out, ridden to challenge last, kept on same pace
held up towards rear, not fluent 2nd and 3rd, effort when mistake last, never a threat
held up in touch, chasing leaders when badly hampered 2 out, quickly lost place
always prominent, left in lead 2 out, hard pressed approaching last, stayed on well
behind, under pressure after 4 out, pulled up before 2 out
led, driven when headed after 3 out, soon lost place
tracked leader, challenging when hampered 2 out, weakened before last
Handicaps restricted to veteran hurdlers are a new concept so it will be interesting to see if the idea takes hold. Some of these appear to retain plenty of ability including Rock Gone, who returned from a lengthy absence to finish second at Plumpton last month. Olofi hasn't won since 2012 but is still tumbling down the handicap and has been running a bit better than his form figures would suggest. Cousin Khee is still capable on his day but SPICE FAIR might be safest option as the eight times Flat winner finally got off the mark over timber at Market Rasen on Boxing Day and then ran well off his new mark at Taunton.
Cousin Khee 33-1 (11-0) In rear, outpaced before 3 out, left remote 3rd 2 out, never dangerous, 3rd of 5, 35l behind Vaniteux (11-0) at Kempton 2m (4) gs in Nov.
Rock Gone (IRE) 4-1 (11-8) Held up towards rear, headway 4th, chased leaders next, challenging when hung left approaching last, kept on well closing stages, 2nd of 8, 2 1/2l behind Billy No Name (11-4) at Plumpton 2m 5f hcp (3) hvy in Feb.
Spice Fair 8-1 (10-8) Held up in rear, headway after 3 out, ridden and hung left after 2 out, switched right flat, stayed on, unable to challenge winner, 3rd of 9, 1 1/4l behind Tornado In Milan (10-9) at Taunton 2m 3f hcp (2) hvy in Jan.
Olofi (FR) 7-1 (10-0) Tracked leaders, ridden and effort when not fluent last, kept on same pace flat, no impression final 100 yards, 6th of 9, 6 3/4l behind Solstice Star (10-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp (2) hvy in Jan.
Lexi's Boy (IRE) 22-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, ridden before 4 out, weakened before next, last of 15, dist behind One For Harry (10-13) at Carlisle 2m 4f hcp (2) gs in Nov.
Howaboutnever (IRE) 2-1 (11-10) Led, ridden and headed between last 2, one pace and no impression in 3rd flat, stayed on to dead heat for 2nd post, 2nd of 7, 3 1/4l behind Fionn Mac Cul (11-10) at Carlisle 2m 3f (4) hvy in Feb.
Tiger O'Toole (IRE) 2-1fav (11-7) Held up in touch and keen, led 3 out, headed last, weakened run-in, 7th of 8, 10 1/2l behind Sky Khan (11-10) at Market Rasen 2m 5f hcp (3) gd in May.
Total Submission 12-1 (11-12) Tracked leader, every chance after 2 out, kept on same pace, 4th of 6, 8 3/4l behind Calgary Bay (11-12) at Ascot 2m 5f (5) gs in Mar.
Bonobo (IRE) 12-1 (11-5) Mid-division, driven to chase leaders before 2 out, kept on same pace, never on terms, 7th of 15, 16 3/4l behind Dazinski (11-4) at Warwick 2m 3f hcp (4) gs in Nov.
Flementime (IRE) 16-1 (10-8) Prominent, led before 6th, headed 2 out, weakened before last, 7th of 10, dist behind Lily Waugh (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp (2) sft in Dec.