Real Milan looked a smart prospect at this time a year ago but hasn't really recovered from a mishap at Ascot. Herdsman couldn't cope with Class 2 company at Haydock and this looks more his grade while it's difficult to know what to make of Mr Watson, a very progressive hurdler last season but so far well beaten in novice chase company. Everaard alternates between hurdles and fences and showed himself in fine form with a comfortable victory over the smaller obstacles at Doncaster on Thursday. He has eight career victories to his credit but never on ground this testing so is overlooked for that reason. UNION JACK D'YCY has joined Venetia Williams from France and showed what a fine acquisition he is with a battling victory at Warwick last month and a 7lb rise shouldn't prevent a follow-up. Triggerman has generally competed at a higher level though hasn't won for a long time and is now in the veteran stage.
Real Milan (IRE) 11-4fav (11-11) Tracked leaders on outside, close up 10th, disputed lead 5 out, kept on and every chance until ridden and no extra after 2 out, well held after, 2nd of 7, 9l behind Rose Of The Moon (11-12) at Wetherby 3m 1f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Jan.
Herdsman (IRE) 13-2 (10-12) Tracked leader, not fluent 12th, hit 14th, weakened before 2 out (normal 4 out), 6th of 10, 33l behind Across The Bay (11-12) at Haydock 3m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Dec.
Mr Watson (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, not fluent 4 out, weakened next, modest 4th, 4th of 5, 33l behind Mr Mole (11-0) at Warwick 2m beg chs (4) gs in Dec.
Union Jack D'ycy (FR) 7-1 (11-9) Held up behind leaders, hampered 8th, went 4th after 11th, chased leader 4 out, led and not fluent 2 out, soon ridden and edged right, driven out, won at Warwick 3m 2f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Jan beating Bally Sands (10-2) by 2 1/2l, 9 ran.
Triggerman 13-2 (9-4) Held up mid-division, took keen hold, ridden before 3 out, kept on same pace, 4th of 8, 17l behind Pineau De Re (10-11) at Exeter 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft in Jan.
Everaard (USA) 16-1 (10-2) Close up, outpaced 4 out, headway before 3 out, led before last, drew clear run-in, won at Doncaster 3m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gs beating Viva Steve (11-6) by 5l, 10 ran.