led until approaching 3rd, chased leader, left in lead before 2 out, ridden and joined between last 2, good jump last, stayed on gamely run-in and always doing enough
took keen hold in mid-division, awkward and unseated rider 1st
not always fluent, tracked leading trio, bumped by loose horse 2nd, jumped slowly 4th, pushed along and left 3rd before 2 out, ridden and one pace between last 2, no chance with 1st 2, lost modest 3rd run-in
raced keenly, tracked leader, led approaching 3rd, went left 5th, hung badly left after 3 out, bit slipped and pulled up before next
tracked leading pair, mistake 2nd, left in close 2nd before 2 out, ridden and every chance from between last 2, almost upsides when not fluent last, stayed on but always just held
keen in mid-division, dropped to last pair 2nd, headway when left in 5th place before 2 out, driven raced awkwardly and hung right between last 2, kept on run-in pressing for modest 4th
held up in 6th, hit 4th, headway on inside when hit 3 out, left in 4th place before 2 out, plugged on into modest 3rd run-in
always in rear, tailed off 3 out
held up in 5th, jumped slowly 3rd, pushed along and struggling in 6th after 3 out, never on terms
Nicky Henderson attempts to win this for the eighth year in succession and runs hurdling newcomer and bumper winner BARDD, who scored at the track last month. The trainer has a good line on the form given his Khezerabad beat Crystal Lad over course and distance at the same meeting. The latter should make another bold bid today but Dashing Oscar is penalised for an easy win at Bangor. American Gigolo and Cruiseaweigh have won bumpers at Wincanton and Aintree respectively with the latter preferred having beaten a subsequent winner but Hooper's Legend will need to step up on a modest hurdling debut effort at Chepstow if he’s to figure.
Dashing Oscar (IRE) 3-1 (10-12) Held up in touch, headway 4 out, chased leaders next, led approaching last, ran on strongly, won at Bangor 2m 1f (4) gs in Nov beating Chilli Romance (10-5) by 13l, 14 ran.
American Gigolo 7-1 (11-4) Raced keenly, tracked leading pair, went 2nd over 3f out, led inside final 2f, came clear final furlong, easily, won at Wincanton 1m 7f (6) gd in Nov beating As And When (11-4) by 3 1/4l, 5 ran.
Bardd (IRE) 2-1 (11-0) Held up in close 4th, 3rd travelling well 4f out, 2nd 3f out, challenged and carried left over 1f out, led and edged right inside final furlong, ran on well and soon clear, won at Sandown 2m (4) gd in Nov beating Potters Approach (11-0) by 3 3/4l, 5 ran.
Cruiseaweigh (IRE) Evensfav (11-0) Held up in 4th, closed over 3f out, led over 2f out, clear over 1f out, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Aintree 2m 1f (4) gs in Nov beating Elgin (11-7) by 4 1/2l, 7 ran.
Crystal Lad (FR) 8-1 (11-0) Led, went left 3 out, pushed along before 2 out, ridden and headed before last, kept on same pace run-in, 2nd of 4, 4 1/2l behind Khezerabad (11-0) at Sandown 2m mdn (4) gd in Nov.
Hooper's Legend 33-1 (10-12) Towards rear, headway before 4 out, kept on to take 4th before last, no impression, 4th of 13, 14l behind Copain De Classe (10-12) at Chepstow 2m (4) gs in Nov.
Keating (IRE) 10-1 (11-0) Always behind, weakened 4 out, tailed off, 11th of 14, dist behind Elegant Escape (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 3f mdn (4) gs in Oct.
Quarry Wizard (IRE) 40-1 (11-4) Held up, towards rear, struggling 3 out, behind when not fluent next, 8th of 9, 31 1/2l behind Kalaskadesemilley (11-4) at Stratford 2m mdn (4) gd in Oct.
Zerachiel (IRE) 50-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, not fluent 1st, pushed along after 5th, weakened 3 out, left modest 4th and hampered 2 out, 4th of 7, 20l behind No Comment (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 3f (4) gs in Nov.
Faheem 10-1 (11-2) Raced keenly, with leader, led 9f out, headed 2f out, lost 2nd inside final 2f, soon ridden, 4th and one pace final furlong, 4th of 8, 5 1/2l behind The Mighty Don (11-2) at Plumpton 2m 2f (6) gd in Nov.