The declaration of the classy Neptune Collonges means a few of these are racing from out of the handicap proper, including the top weight's stablemate Forest Pennant who is now blinkered after a modest reappearance at Wincanton. Palypso De Creek has always been held in regard and promises to win a decent race if he can get his jumping together but a more reliable proposition may be RARE BOB. Dessie Hughes' gelding stays well and can reverse Aintree running in April with From Dawn To Dusk on this stiffer track. The fast-improving Midnight Chase beat Any Currency over 3m4f here last month but has gone up a further 9lb since, while Ascot fourth Exmoor Ranger has never enjoyed much luck on previous visits to Cheltenham.
Neptune Collonges (FR) 14-1 (10-8) Held up towards rear until brought down 4th, in a race won by Diamond Harry (10-0) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Nov, 18 ran.
Midnight Chase 8-1 (11-9) Led after 4th, made rest, hit 16th, hit 3 out, clear next, blundered last, stayed on strongly, won at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov beating Any Currency (10-9) by 8l, 17 ran.
Knockara Beau (IRE) 8-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders until not fluent 2nd, soon in rear and not going well, hit 6th, pulled up before 9th, in a race won by Nacarat (11-0) at Wetherby 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct, 8 ran.
Rare Bob (IRE) 9-4fav (11-10) Led after 1st, strongly pressed from 4 out, headed before 2 out, no impression under pressure approaching last, no extra run-in and dropped to 3rd closing stages, 3rd of 5, 6l behind Glencove Marina (11-7) at Thurles 2m 6f lst chs (1) sft in Nov.
Exmoor Ranger (IRE) 14-1 (11-2) In rear when blundered 3rd, headway 16th, chased leaders 2 out, soon weakened, 4th of 13, 12l behind Massini's Maguire (11-3) at Ascot 3m listed hcp chs (1) gd in Oct.
From Dawn To Dusk 14-1 (11-10) Held up in mid-division, headway to modest 7th after 4 out, went poor 5th after 2 out, 5th of 17, 39l behind Midnight Chase (11-9) at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov.
That's Rhythm (FR) 33-1 (11-0) In rear, hit 9th, effort approaching 4 out, no impression, weakened 3 out, 5th of 8, 14l behind Nacarat (11-0) at Wetherby 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct.
Beat The Boys (IRE) 6-1 (11-12) Slow jum 1st, held up in last trio, headway 8th, chased leading pair 11th, weakened 5 out, tailed off, 5th of 11, 30l behind Ballycarney (10-10) at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct.
Horner Woods (IRE) 15-2 (11-0) Held up, driven and headway approaching 4 out, outpaced next, weakened last, 9th of 14, 20l behind Beat The Boys (10-12) at Newcastle 3m listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov '09.
Faasel (IRE) 16-1 (10-12) Held up in touch, slightly hampered 17th, pushed along approaching next, soon weakened, pulled up 2 out, in a race won by Merigo (10-0) at Ayr 4m hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Apr, 30 ran.
Forest Pennant (IRE) 16-1 (11-1) Always towards rear, mistake 4th (water), struggling 13th (water), tailed off, 10th of 14, well behind Meanus Dandy (9-11) at Wincanton 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Nov.
Knowhere (IRE) 7-1 (11-9) Led, hit 9th, headed 3 out, stayed in 3rd, hit 2 out, kept on same pace under pressure flat, 3rd of 12, 2 1/2l behind Rustarix (9-13) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-140 (2) gd in Nov.
Palypso De Creek (FR) 5-2fav (11-10) In touch when fell 7th, in a race won by King Fontaine (11-1) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Nov, 8 ran.
Any Currency (IRE) 6-1fav (10-9) Held up in touch, headway to chase leaders from 4 out, 4th when blundered 3 out, went 2nd soon after last, no chance with winner hung badly right flat, 2nd of 17, 8l behind Midnight Chase (11-9) at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov.
Presenting Forever (IRE) 6-5fav (11-5) Made all, had a tendancy to jump left most of the time, ridden after last, kept on well, driven out, won at Carlisle 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd in Oct beating Rifleman (10-5) by 4l, 6 ran.
Irish Raptor (IRE) 11-1 (10-3) Mid-division, headway and in touch 11th, left 3rd 13th (bechers brook)effort and every chance when blundered 2 out, not recover, 6th of 17, 29l behind Hello Bud (10-5) at Aintree 3m 2f lstd hcp chs (1) gs in Nov.
Appleaday (IRE) 6-1 (11-12) Led until 11th, remained prominent, ridden approaching 3 out, weakened next, 4th of 10, 22l behind Fit To Drive (11-9) at Sandown 3m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Nov.