held up in touch, tracked leader halfway, challenged 3 out, hit next, driven and every chance when not fluent last, ridden and kept on flat, just held
led, joined halfway, headed 3 out, ridden and weakened next
tracked leaders, disputed lead halfway, led narrowly 3 out, soon driven, ridden and held on well under pressure flat, all out (all flights in back straight omitted, low sun)
in touch on outside, lost place halfway, soon struggling in rear, tailed off 3 out
tracked leaders, driven and outpaced before 3 out, ridden after next, rallied and every chance last, kept on, held near finish
in touch on inside, challenged 3 out, ridden and every chance last, no extra in 4th flat
MIDNIGHT SHADOW (NAP) confirmed earlier promise when winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr in April. He made a winning reappearance around this time last year so fitness shouldn’t be an issue and Sue Smith’s promising hurdler can improve again this term. Beach Break and Innocent Touch both had winning runs brought to an end last time and may be a few pounds to high now but Aristo Du Plessis won twice over track and trip at the end of last year and beat Sakhee's City in the second of those. Raven's Tower is only 2lb higher than when scoring at Fontwell last November but has finished last in three of his four starts since and was pulled up in the other.
Midnight Shadow 25-1 (10-4) Tracked leaders, challenged 3 out, led next, edged right before not fluent last, driven out, won at Ayr 2m hcp (1) gd in Apr beating Claimantakinforgan (11-3) by 1 1/4l, 16 ran.
Aristo Du Plessis (FR) 6-4fav (11-12) Tracked leader, close up 4 out, led before next, mistake 2 out, clear when ridden after last, kept on, won at Wetherby 2m hcp (3) sft in Dec beating Sakhee's City (11-4) by 6l, 3 ran.
Innocent Touch (IRE) 9-1 (10-11) Held up in mid-division, mistake 3 out, some headway when hampered before 2 out, no impression, 5th of 12, 21 1/4l behind Caius Marcius (10-3) at Market Rasen 2m 1f hcp lst (1) gd in Sep.
Sakhee's City (FR) 11-4 (11-6) Always prominent, led after 2nd, pushed clear before last, easily (2 hurdles omitted), won at Newcastle 2m hcp (3) hvy in Apr beating Bulls Head (10-8) by 9l, 4 ran.
Raven's Tower (USA) 14-1 (11-11) Mid-division, headway 10th, outpaced after next, weakening when slow 4 out, pulled up before 2 out, at Haydock 2m 3f hcp (3) gd in May.
Beach Break 2-1fav (11-6) Led until 1st, tracked leader, led after 3 out, headed and mistake 2 out, every chance flat, held and lost 2nd towards finish, 3rd of 5, 2 1/2l behind Mixboy (11-12) at Sedgefield 2m 1f hcp (3) gf in Oct.