Blazing Bailey would be hard to ignore at these weights if translating his smart hurdles form to the larger obstacles but he's been hugely disappointing over fences so far. Joe Lively, My Will and Character Building have won competitive staying chases around here in their time but all are approaching the veteran stage now and probably on a downward curve. Brooklyn Brownie and Knowhere are others that may have seen better days, while Maljimar has never been the safest of jumpers though often runs well around here. The vote, therefore, goes to RICHARD'S SUNDANCE, who was a progressive novice last winter and will be all the better for a run at the track in November - he is probably still on a decent mark. Newbury winner Buffalo Bob and the lightly-weighted Etxalar are others to consider in an intriguing contest.
Joe Lively (IRE) 9-2 (11-8) In touch, ridden towards rear 12th, headway and in touch 21st, mistake and weakened 27th, 6th of 10, 26l behind Lacdoudal (10-10) at Cheltenham 3m 7f crs cntry chs (5yo+) (2) gs in Nov.
My Will (FR) 25-1 (11-6) Always in rear, struggling afer 13th, tailed off when pulled up before 18th, in a race won by Church Island (10-5) at Sandown 3m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Apr, 19 ran.
Maljimar (IRE) 8-1 (11-3) Mid-division, blundered 2nd, fell next, in a race won by Hello Bud (10-5) at Aintree 3m 2f lstd hcp chs (1) gs in Nov, 17 ran.
Character Building (IRE) 8-1 (11-3) Always in rear, never travelled, tailed off and never a factor, 12th of 17, well behind Midnight Chase (11-9) at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov.
Brooklyn Brownie (IRE) 16-1 (11-1) In rear, detached from field after 4th, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Grand Slam Hero (10-9) at Market Rasen 2m 6f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Jul, 16 ran.
The Sliotar (IRE) 5-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, led 13th, headed approaching 3 out, soon beaten, 2nd of 5, 14l behind Burton Port (11-8) at Southwell 3m nov chs (3) sft in Feb.
Knowhere (IRE) 20-1 (10-0) Always behind, blundered 3rd, tailed off 15th, 15th of 16, well behind Midnight Chase (11-3) at Cheltenham 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Dec.
Richard's Sundance (IRE) 20-1 (11-12) Chased leader until 7th, prominent, stumbled badly 9th, weakened after 3 out, 9th of 12, 17l behind Rustarix (9-13) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-140 (2) gd in Nov.
Buffalo Bob (IRE) 7-1 (11-6) With leader, led 5th to before 8th, led again next, hard pressed from 4 out, ridden and stayed on well flat, held on towards finish, won at Newbury 2m 6f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Nov beating Sound Stage (11-11) by 2 1/4l, 11 ran.
Blazing Bailey 12-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, pushed along after 6th, dropped rear approaching 8th, soon behind, 6th of 8, 37l behind Fair Along (11-8) at Wetherby 3m 1f hdl G2 (1) gd in Oct.
Lead On (IRE) 12-1 (11-11) Ridden leaving start, behind, mistake and unseated rider 3rd, in a race won by West End Rocker (11-11) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd in Dec, 13 ran.
Dashing George (IRE) 12-1 (11-6) In touch, mistake 5th, chased winner 14th, ridden approaching 2 out, lost 2nd last, kept on same pace flat, 7th of 16, 13l behind Frankie Figg (11-5) at Aintree 2m 5f hcp chs (2) gs in Nov.
Il Duce (IRE) 10-3 (11-7) Raced in last, pecked 1st, not fluent 3rd, ridden 4 out, went 3rd before 2 out, one pace, 3rd of 6, 16l behind Mister McGoldrick (11-12) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Nov.
Etxalar (FR) 8-1 (11-2) Hit 1st, soon behind, mistake 4th, hit 10th, outpaced 5 out, beaten when mistake next, never on terms, 4th of 8, 29l behind King Fontaine (11-1) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Nov.
Victorias Groom (GER) 22-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, lost place 4 out, weakened next, 10th of 15, 48l behind Only Vintage (10-11) at Folkestone 2m 5f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Dec.
Officier De Reserve (FR) 20-1 (11-9) Prominent, not fluent and lost place 12th, rallied 14th, hit 17th, outpaced after 3 out, stayed on flat, 4th of 13, 4l behind West End Rocker (11-11) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd in Dec.
Qhilimar (FR) 6-1 (10-12) Raced wide, close up until lost place 14th, stayed on again from 2 out, kept on well flat, 5th of 12, 4 1/2l behind Rustarix (9-13) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-140 (2) gd in Nov.