The biggest priced winner of this bumper in the last ten years was 15-2 so a market check is essential in a race where fancied horses have such a good record. Theatrical Star makes some appeal on paper but it's probably best to focus on the form horses although the presence of Tony McCoy aboard Graiguecullen clearly takes the eye. Kartanian was impressive at Chepstow and his yard has won two recent renewals whilst Paul Nicholls took last year's race and relies on Rock On Ruby who wears a tongue tie for the first time. He looked very promising in winning twice last season but he's taken on with CUCUMBER RUN who failed to live up to expectations despite winning on his final start. His trainer reports that he's done very well over the summer, the yard has hit top form at this meeting and he can come out on top before embarking on a career over hurdles in which he's expected to take top rank.
Cucumber Run (IRE) 7-4fav (10-9) Chased leaders, challenged and wandered about 2f out, led well over 1f out, ran on well, driven out, won at Kempton 2m NH flat (6) gd in Apr beating No Substitute (11-2) by 2 1/2l, 13 ran.
Kartanian (IRE) 11-4 (11-7) Tracked leaders, challenged 4f out, soon driven and every chance, ridden to lead entering final furlong, kept on well, won at Chepstow 2m NH flat (6) gs in Oct beating Golden Chieftain (11-0) by 2 1/2l, 15 ran.
Laveroque (FR) 7-1 (10-11) Mid-division, headway over 4f out, led over 1f out, ran on well, won at Worcester 2m NH flat (6) gs in Oct beating Youralltalk (11-4) by 7l, 10 ran.
Panache 13-2 (10-7) Took keen hold, 3rd early stages, held up in touch in rear, headway over 2f out, led over 1f out, ridden clear, ran on well, won at Stratford 2m NH flat (5) gf in Sep beating Thomas Bell (11-0) by 2 3/4l, 5 ran.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 4-1 (11-9) Held up towards rear, steady headway 4f out, chased leader well over 1f out, led entering final furlong, soon clear, won at Newbury 2m NH flat (5) gs in Mar beating Karasenir (10-1) by 2 3/4l, 13 ran.
Rose Of The Moon (IRE) 4-1 (11-4) Mid-division, headway 7f out, outpaced over 3f out, rallied to challenge over 2f out, stayed on under pressure to lead and edged left close home, won at Uttoxeter 2m NH flat (6) hvy in Oct beating Koup De Kanon (11-4) by nk, 15 ran.
Bach To Back (IRE) 6-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear, headway to chase leaders approaching 2f out, soon ridden, one pace final furlong, 3rd of 13, 9l behind Mawsem (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m NH flat (6) gd in Oct.
Castle Legend 66-1 (11-0) Chased leaders on inside, outpaced halfway, soon lost place, tailed off and eased 7f out, last of 9, well behind Scoter Fontaine (10-12) at Hereford 2m 1f NH flat (6) gs in Apr.
For Valour 16-1 (11-7) Towards rear, progress from before straight, no impression under pressure and kept on without threatening from under 2f out, 6th of 10, 4 1/2l behind Moymore Lad (11-9) at Fairyhouse 2m N H flat gf in Oct.
Go On Arch (IRE) Oscar gelding out of Good Aim.
Graiguecullen (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Chased leader in 2nd, ridden entering straight, under pressure in 4th 1 1/2f out, 3rd 1f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 3rd of 7, 4l behind Bullock Harbour (11-11) at Listowel 2m N H flat in Sep.
Radmores Sam Evans 66-1 (10-7) Mid-division, under pressure over 6f out, soon beaten, 9th of 12, well behind Persian Snow (11-0) at Ascot 2m NH flat (4) gd in Oct.
Rogue Dancer (FR) 33-1 (11-1) Mid-division, ridden and outpaced 3f out, weakened over 1f out, 9th of 14, 41l behind Sprinter Sacre (10-9) at Ascot 2m NH flat (3) gs in Feb.
Theatrical Star King's Theatre gelding out of Lucy Glitters.
Vinomore 20-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, close up 3f out, soon edged left, weakened inside final furlong, 4th of 11, 10l behind Twirling Magnet (11-10) at Worcester 2m mdn nat hunt flat (6) gd in Oct.