Weird Al has shown a decent level of form from limited opportunities for Ian Williams after just three starts and has to be considered following his narrow success here last time but he has an 8lb penalty to carry for that win and it may be worth siding with PIGEON ISLAND, who gets the vote ahead of Five Dream. The last mentioned has a bit to find with the selection on running here last month behind Tataniano but the longer trip may help the five-year-old, who cannot be discounted given the form of runners trained by Paul Nicholls. Alan King's runners are in better form now and his representative, Awesome George, showed much better form when successful at Ascot last month. The softer ground today should not be a problem for the son of Exit To Nowhere and he makes more appeal than Henrietta Knight's Minella Theatre, who needs to improve on all known form to trouble the judge. The vote then goes the way of Pigeon Island, who has yet to win over fences but has the beating of Five Dream on running here last month, should not be inconvenienced by the step up in trip and he looks worth chancing receiving weight all round.
Five Dream (FR) 15-2 (11-6) Held up in 3rd, hampered 3 out, weakened 2 out, 3rd of 4, 23l behind Tataniano (11-6) at Cheltenham 2m nov chs Grade 2 4yo+ (1) sft in Nov.
Weird Al (IRE) 12-1 (11-2) Held up in rear, not fluent 4 out, not fluent 2 out, soon moved into 4th, stayed on strongly approaching last, kept on flat to lead last strides, won at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov chs (2) gs in Nov beating Knockara Beau (11-10) by nk, 6 ran.
Awesome George 6-4fav (10-12) In touch, left 2nd at 9th, switched left approaching 2 out, ridden to lead narrowly last, ran on, won at Ascot 2m 5f beg chs (3) gd in Nov beating Zemsky (11-1) by 3l, 7 ran.
Minella Theatre (IRE) 7-2 (11-1) Held up in touch, headway to lead 4 out, ridden and hard pressed 2 out, stayed on well flat, won at Hereford 2m 5f nov chs (3) gs in Nov beating Fiendish Flame (11-7) by 2 3/4l, 5 ran.
Pigeon Island 12-1 (11-2) Held up in last, niggled along 5th, left chasing winner 3 out, no impression, 2nd of 4, 6l behind Tataniano (11-6) at Cheltenham 2m nov chs Grade 2 4yo+ (1) sft in Nov.