The market may be the best guide as to whether Paul Nicholls has managed to get the once well-regarded Crack Away Jack back to his best. He is certainly capable of winning this if that is the case. Oh Crick won the Grand Annual at The Festival in 2009 but was taken to task by the handicapper after following up at Aintree and is still paying the price, while it remains to be seen if Nomcheki's second at Chepstow was really a prelude to a revival. I'msingingtheblues is capable on his day but on a long losing run and the jumping of novice Havingotascoobydo may be a concern around here. Tanks For That was second over C&D last December and looks the pick of Nicky Henderson's pair, while Richard Johnson rides Keki Baku in preference to SAFARI JOURNEY. But we think the latter could run a big race here as he has finished fourth in the contest for the last two years and will lack nothing in fitness. With the handicapper finally relenting a little, Philip Hobbs' seven-year-old gets a tentative vote.
Consigliere (FR) 33-1 (11-2) Chased leaders to 5th, lost place from 7th, tailed off, 16th of 30, well behind Always Waining (10-4) at Aintree 2m 5f lstd hcp chs (1) gd in Apr.
I'msingingtheblues (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) In touch, chased winner 14th until mistake 4 out, soon driven, ridden 2 out, kept on and every chance flat, no extra towards finish, 3rd of 9, 3 1/2l behind Sonny Mullen (11-1) at Perth 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gf in Jun.
Crack Away Jack 5-1 (11-4) Raced in 4th, headway to chase leader 4th until 9th, beaten next, tailed off in 3rd and no chance when blundered 11th, pulled up after 4 out, in a race won by Punchestowns (11-7) at Kempton 2m 4f grd chs (5yo+) (2) gs in Feb, 4 ran.
Oh Crick (FR) 5-1 (10-3) Held up in touch, headway 5 out, ridden to challenge 2 out, soon under pressure, faded flat, 4th of 6, 10l behind Tataniano (11-7) at Chepstow 2m hcp chs (2) gd in Oct.
Safari Journey (USA) 14-1 (11-12) Raced wide, held up in last pair, no chance and tailed off when blundered 3 out, 7th of 9, 34l behind Anquetta (11-0) at Ascot 2m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Oct.
Tanks For That (IRE) 9-1 (11-8) Prominent, led 5th, hit 7th, headed last, no extra towards finish, 3rd of 10, 6l behind Beggars Cap (10-9) at Ayr 2m hcp chs (2) gd in Apr.
Nomecheki (FR) 11-2 (10-0) Tracked leader, effort approaching 3 out, soon hard ridden, kept on under pressure, not pace of winner, 2nd of 6, 8l behind Tataniano (11-7) at Chepstow 2m hcp chs (2) gd in Oct.
Russian Flag (FR) 9-4 (10-9) Keen tracked winner, mistake 8th and next, outpaced by easy winner from 2 out, 2nd of 5, 23l behind Mush Mir (11-5) at Fakenham 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Oct.
Mahrajaan (USA) 16-1 (10-12) Waited with, closed approaching straight, 3rd and challenged from 2 out, stayed on well run-in, just in front on line, won at Gowran Park 2m 2f hcp chs gd in Sep beating King High (11-4) by ns, 11 ran.
Havingotascoobydo (IRE) 3-10fav (11-9) Led from 1st, blundered 4th, clear from 2 out, readily, won at Wetherby 2m nov chs (4) gd in Oct beating Seigneur Des Bois (11-9) by 30l, 3 ran.
Keki Buku (FR) 4-1 (11-5) Settled in mid-division, went 4th halfway, smooth headway to close after 5 out, led briefly when blundered 4 out, 3rd next, soon driven along and no extra from 2 out, kept on one pace, 3rd of 9, 25l behind Bellvano (11-5) at Punchestown 2m 2f nov chs in May.
Osric (IRE) 15-2 (11-1) Held up mid-division, ridden after 4 out, weakened 2 out, 8th of 10, 48l behind Watch My Back (11-6) at Ayr 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gd in Apr.
Peplum (FR) 22-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, headway approaching 4 out, never on terms, weakened last, 6th of 9, 16l behind Hoo La Baloo (10-12) at Worcester 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Jun.
Marley Roca (IRE) 12-1 (10-3) Held up in rear, many mistakes, struggling 3 out, no impression, 7th of 8, 37l behind Billie Magern (10-11) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gf in Oct.
Rileyev (FR) 8-1 (11-10) Mid-division, ridden approaching 5th, disputing 4th 4 out, no extra 2 out, 6th of 12, 26l behind Educated Evans (10-11) at Chepstow 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Oct.
Quipe Me Posted (FR) 11-2 (11-0) Led until 2nd, chased leader until 5th, went 2nd again 7th, not fluent 4 out, ridden and lost 2nd 2 out, soon no chance with leading duo, 3rd of 9, 14l behind Cruchain (10-10) at Cheltenham 2m cnd hcp chs (0-135) (3) gd in Apr.
Bocciani (GER) 3-1 (11-10) Tracked winner until stumbled 3rd, blundered badly and dropped rear 5th, rallied to chase winner until 2 out soon one pace, 3rd of 5, 18l behind L'Eldorado (11-3) at Hexham 2m nov chs (4) gd in Oct.