Nigel Twiston-Davies chases a hat-trick in the race but Billie Magern looks up against it so it may pay to focus on WAYWARD PRINCE and Beshabar, with the former preferred. Ian Williams has his string in fine form and looks to have a horse of real potential to go to war with over fences in Wayward Prince, who impressed when winning the Grade Two Sefton over hurdles. On the evidence of his Huntingdon win this former point-to-point winner may do better still over fences and that'd make him hard to beat. Beshabar has his first start for Tim Vaughan and looks another made for fences, so the fact he achieved a rating of 149 over timber bodes well. However, he has proved to be a rather fragile type and, while bred for the job, his lack of a run over fences makes this a formidable task. Chicago Grey dispelled any stamina doubts when beating the likes of Billie Magern and Balthazar King here last time so has to be considered a danger along with surprise Albert Bartlett winner Berties Dream, who should leave behind his Galway reappearance.
Balthazar King (IRE) 11-2 (11-8) Chased leader, mistake 12th, lost 2nd 4 out, chased leading pair after until ridden and outpaced before 2 out, kept on again flat to press for 2nd close home, 4th of 7, 7l behind Chicago Grey (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gd in Oct.
Billie Magern 9-2 (11-8) Led, hit 3rd and 12th, hit 3 out, soon joined, headed approaching 2 out, chased winner after until weakened flat and lost 2nd close home, 3rd of 7, 6l behind Chicago Grey (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gd in Oct.
Chicago Grey (IRE) 13-2 (11-8) Not fluent, held up in rear, hit 5th, driven and stayed on after 3 out, led and went left 2 out, clear before last, stayed on well, won at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gd in Oct beating Picture This (11-0) by 6l, 7 ran.
Wayward Prince 10-11fav (11-2) Held up, soon tracking leaders, challenged 14th, led approaching 2 out, went left and hit last, stayed on well, won at Huntingdon 3m nov chs (3) gd in Oct beating Aberdale (11-2) by 9l, 7 ran.
Berties Dream (IRE) 4-1 (11-12) Prominent, disputed from 7 out, led 3 out, ridden and headed entering straight, no extra and kept on same pace, 4th of 15, 9l behind Jessies Dream (11-12) at Galway 2m 6f beg chs gd in Oct.
Beshabar (IRE) 9-4fav (11-2) Tracked leader, led narrowly 4 out, ridden 2 out, stayed on gamely under pressure flat, just held on, won at Ascot 2m 3f hcp hdl (2) gs in Feb beating Tender Falcon (10-2) by nk, 16 ran.
Cannington Brook (IRE) 20-1 (11-4) Chased clear leading pair, not fluent 1st, mistake 3 out, soon ridden, beaten when jumped left last, 3rd of 14, 11l behind Wayward Prince (11-4) at Aintree 3m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Apr.
Strategic Approach (IRE) 5-6fav (11-6) Led until 3rd, reminders and led again after next, narrowly headed after 7th, weakened before 2 out, soon eased when beaten, 5th of 8, 32l behind Five Star Wilsham (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr.
Wolf Moon (IRE) 11-4 (11-4) Held up 4th and last, went 3rd 12th, outpaced 3 out, ridden next, stayed on under pressure flat, just failed for 2nd, no chance with winner, 3rd of 4, 21l behind Rebel Du Maquis (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov chs (3) gd in Oct.