Oiseau de Nuit won the Grand Annual over track and trip in 2011 and scored for the first time since at Chepstow in October, though that form hasn't really been franked since. Josh Newman gave Oh Crick a good ride to claim second spot at Newbury last time and he's another former Grand Annual winner. But he was earlier almost 10 lengths behind SHOOTERS WOOD here and Paul Nicholls' consistent eight-year-old is fancied to confirm that form and follow up today. His Excellency has a lot weight considering he is only a four-year-old and this may be too tough for Imperial Shabra while Pepite Rose is possibly better over further. Garynella returns from a break but is still preferred to the Evan Williams' pair, West With The Wind and Lancetto, of the others.
Oiseau de Nuit (FR) 8-1 (10-13) Held up in 5th, headway to 3rd place at 5th, went 2nd 5 out, led soon after 4 out, clear from 3 out, easily, won at Chepstow 2m hcp chs (2) gs in Oct beating Kumbeshwar (10-7) by 10l, 7 ran.
Pepite Rose (FR) 10-3 (11-2) Held up in 5th, outpaced 2 out (usual 3 out), soon weakened, 5th of 7, 48l behind William's Wishes (10-6) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs (2) hvy in Nov.
Oh Crick (FR) 12-1 (11-2) In touch, headway 4 out, ridden after 2 out, stayed on under pressure to take narrow 2nd flat, no impression with winner, 2nd of 15, 4l behind Ulck Du Lin (10-2) at Newbury 2m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs.
His Excellency (IRE) 66-1 (11-1) In touch, weakened 5 out, 5th of 7, 31l behind Sprinter Sacre (11-7) at Sandown 2m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) sft.
West With The Wind 66-1 (11-12) Went right start, mid-division on outside, lost place when hit 4th, soon behind, tailed off 5 out, 14th of 15, well behind Ulck Du Lin (10-2) at Newbury 2m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs.
Imperial Shabra (IRE) 20-1 (10-8) Led and disputed, headed 3 out, ridden in 3rd entering straight, no extra before last, 8th of 14, 14l behind Lead Kindly Light (10-5) at Fairyhouse 2m 1f hcp chs sft.
Lancetto (FR) 10-1 (11-3) In rear, not fluent 2nd, went remote 4th at 6th, never any chance with leaders, 4th of 6, 36l behind Wishfull Thinking (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m chs (2) sft in Nov.
Shooters Wood (IRE) 7-1 (10-5) Chased leader, led 3 out, joined 2 out, idled run-in, driven out and always doing enough, won at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Nov beating Wetak (10-7) by 1 1/2l, 14 ran.
Garynella (FR) (11-0) won at Nantes(FR) 2m 5f chs sft in Jun beating Endless Enigma (10-10) by 2l, 7 ran.