MARRACUDJA and Wishfull Dreaming are both penalised for recent victories but today's opposition is pretty poor and this looks between that pair. Wishfull Dreaming scored at Worcester last month to add to his earlier bumper win but the former made all over track and trip on his reappearance and Paul Nicholls has a good record in the race. Flamenco Lad has gone close in a bumper but never figured on his hurdling bow while Shake Devaney is related to several winners over timber and makes his hurdling debut.
Marracudja (FR) 6-4fav (10-12) Raced shade keenly, led and jumped left early, soon improved and jumped slickly after, clear 3 out, kept on strongly, easily, won at Wincanton 1m 7f (4) gd in Oct beating Wade Harper (10-12) by 8l, 8 ran.
Wishfull Dreaming 4-6fav (10-12) Tracked leaders, 2nd from 3rd, challenging when left in lead 3 out, drifted left last, edged right flat, pressed 100 yards out, pulled out enough towards finish, won at Worcester 2m (4) gd in Oct beating Super Scorpion (10-12) by 1/2l, 10 ran.
Bishops Court 20-1 (10-12) Held up in 5th, mistake 5th, weakened after 3 out, 4th of 8, 25 1/2l behind Marracudja (10-12) at Wincanton 1m 7f (4) gd in Oct.
Flamenco Lad 33-1 (10-12) Held up in rear, took keen hold, closed 4th, tracking leaders going well after 3 out, ridden and weakened before 2 out, 6th of 9, 22 1/4l behind Simon Squirrel (10-12) at Newton Abbot 2m 2f (4) gs in Oct.
Get Ready Freddy 50-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, not fluent 4th, mistake 3 out, some headway 2 out, no chance with winner, one pace, 6th of 9, 29 3/4l behind San Benedeto (10-7) at Wincanton 2m (4) gd in Mar.
Shake Devaney (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) Held up in last pair, headway on inside 3f out, chased leaders over 2f out, edged left and kept on same pace final 2f, went 3rd post, no chance with leading duo, 3rd of 11, 17 3/4l behind Jennifer Eccles (10-7) at Fontwell 2m 2f (6) gd in Oct.
Westend Prince (IRE) 12-1 (10-12) In touch, lost place 5th, never on terms with leaders after, tailed off, 6th of 8, dist behind Max Forte (10-12) at Wincanton 2m 5f (4) gd in Oct.
Lady Helissio 66-1 (10-10) Took keen hold, held up in rear, not fluent 1st, mistake and behind from 4th, last of 5, dist behind Smart Talk (10-10) at Worcester 2m (4) gs in Oct.