Paul Nicholls has plenty of runners with chances at the Open Meeting and is taken to land another prize here with the lightly raced BIG FELLA THANKS, who looks to be going the right way over fences and gets the verdict ahead of Ballyfitz and West End Rocker. The last mentioned was useful over hurdles but seemingly showed improved form on his debut over fences when chasing home Wichita Lineman at Chepstow last month and on that evidence he has to be respected. Gone To Lunch showed decent form over timber but has yet to reproduce a similar level of form in two starts over fences, while Sue Smith's Mill Side needs to improve on all known form to trouble the judge. Irish challenger is going the right way but more solid claims are held by recent course and distance winner Ballyfitz. This looks tougher than the race that he won here last month though and a better bet looks to be the progressive Big Fella Thanks.
Ballyfitz 1-2fav (11-0) Led, headed 3rd, led again 4 out, left clear 3 out, won at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gd in Oct beating Thyne Spirit (11-0) by a distance, 3 ran.
Dashing George (IRE) 9-2fav (10-4) Always prominent, on terms 4 out, in front next, clear from before straight, stayed on well, easily, won at Tralee 2m 4f hcp chs sft in Oct beating Jamies Choice (9-7) by 8l, 12 ran.
Dasher Reilly (USA) 15-2 (10-7) Mid-division, ridden and headway when hampered 6th, in touch when brought down 3 out in race won by Malakiya (11-8) at Ludlow 2m 5f sll hdl (4) gd in Oct, 16 ran.
Mill Side 9-2 (10-10) In rear, headway approaching 5 out, led 4 out, kept on well, won at Newcastle 2m 4f beg chs (4) gd in Oct beating That's Rhythm (11-3) by 1l, 11 ran.
Big Fella Thanks 4-6fav (11-4) Led, ridden and headed when not fluent 2 out, led last, no extra when headed final 40 yards, 3rd of 5, 1/2l behind Wichita Lineman (11-4) at Chepstow 3m beg chs (4) gd in Oct.
Gone To Lunch (IRE) 10-3 (11-4) Led, ridden approaching 4 out, narrowly headed when not fluent last, kept on but no extra, 2nd of 8, 1 1/2l behind The Tother One (11-4) at Exeter 3m beg chs (3) gs in Oct.
Mr Parson (IRE) 9-2 (10-11) Mid-division when fell in race won by Mount Cook (11-11) at Taunton 2m 3f nov hcp chs 0-90 (5) gs, 8 ran.
West End Rocker (IRE) 14-1 (11-4) Held up in last place, headway 11th, ridden after 4 out, took narrow advantage 2 out, headed last, rallied to lead final 40 yards, headed near finish, 2nd of 5, nk behind Wichita Lineman (11-4) at Chepstow 3m beg chs (4) gd in Oct.