The maximum size field of 24 runners is set to go to post for this hugely competitive handicap chase in which several have strong claims including topweight The Tother One, who is better than he showed on heavy ground in the Welsh National last time, and David Pipe's The Package, who beat the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding here in December on his most recent start but it is THEATRICAL MOMENT who gets the vote. Jonjo O'Neill's gelding comes into this in good heart having won his last two starts, latterly when readily accounting for his rivals in a three-mile novices' chase at Leicester, and he looks to be reasonably well treated racing off a mark of 142 back in a handicap following that improved performance. Bob Buckler's Niche Market faces no easy task under 11st 6lb, while John Quinn's Character Building, who won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup here 12 months ago, is more than capable of winning this but may also be a shade high in the weights for his return to fences having been well held on his reappearance over hurdles. Casey Jones and Razor Royale are others that probably have too much weight to carry and of more interest may be Alan King's Nenuphar Collonges, who has been given a chance by the handicapper having disappointed in the Hennessy behind Denman last time. Stable companion Bensalem looks the pick of Alan King's two runners in the race and the novice has a decent racing weight in the contest under 10st 11lb.
The Tother One (IRE) 5-1 (11-4) Mid-division, headway under pressure approaching 17th, soon beaten, 10th of 18, well behind Dream Alliance (10-8) at Chepstow 3m 5f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Joe Lively (IRE) 9-1 (11-10) Led until mistake and headed 9th, chased leader to 12th, stayed challenging in 3rd, no impression approaching last, kept on well to press for well held 2nd final 100 yards, no chance with winner, 3rd of 7, 8l behind Taranis (11-0) at Cheltenham 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Jan.
Comply Or Die (IRE) 40-1 (11-4) Made most until headed 9th, weakened after 3 out, soon well behind, tailed off, 10th of 12, 34l behind Lie Forrit (9-12) at Cheltenham 3m 1f listed hcp hdl (1) sft in Nov.
Niche Market (IRE) 25-1 (11-6) Slight lead until headed 7th, chased leader, pushed along approaching 4 out, left in clear lead 4 out, still clear last, idled badly towards finish, headed final strides, 2nd of 6, shd behind Tricky Trickster (11-3) at Newbury 3m chs Grd 2 (1) gs in Feb.
Casey Jones (IRE) 8-1 (11-10) Towards rear, tended to jump left, went moderate 4th under pressure and no impression from 3 out, kept on same pace, 4th of 8, 19l behind The Listener (11-10) at Down Royal 3m Grade 1 chs sft in Nov.
Razor Royale (IRE) 11-1 (10-5) Held up in touch, headway 10th, mistake 12th, chased leader 3 out, not fluent and led 2nd last, blundered last, hard ridden, all out, won at Kempton 3m hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Feb beating Nacarat (11-8) by nk, 13 ran.
Tatenen (FR) 25-1 (11-0) Soon in rear, never travelled, well behind and struggling before 3 out, tailed off, 9th of 13, well behind Tidal Bay (11-0) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G2 (1) sft in Jan.
Beat The Boys (IRE) 14-1 (11-3) Led and bumped 1st, hit 3rd, stayed prominent, hit 14th, ridden and weakened 15th, tailed off when pulled up approaching 4 out, in a race won by The Package (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) sft in Dec, 12 ran.
Exmoor Ranger (IRE) 8-1 (11-3) In touch, headway to chase leader 4 out, led 3 out, soon pressed, kept on gamely from last, caught last strides, 2nd of 13, ns behind Monkerhostin (11-5) at Sandown 3m hcp chs (2) gs in Feb.
Character Building (IRE) 25-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, not fluent 2nd, stuggling after 7th, some headway 2 out, no impression, 13th of 18, 14l behind Sir Harry Ormesher (11-5) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp hdl (2) gs in Feb.
Nenuphar Collonges (FR) 14-1 (10-0) Never travelling in rear, reminders 6th, mistake and driven along 8th, tailed off, 9th of 19, well behind Denman (11-12) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Nov.
Kicks For Free (IRE) 11-4 (11-5) Held up in touch, slow 9th, chased leaders approaching 3 out, under pressure last, not pace of winner, 2nd of 4, 7l behind Seven Is My Number (10-13) at Sandown 3m listed ch (1) sft in Dec.
Bensalem (IRE) 4-1 (11-5) Tended to jump right, tracked leading pair, not fluent 3rd, mistake 8th (water), blundered badly and lost ground 14th, rallied to chase winner before 3 out, went right last, kept on flat, always held, 2nd of 3, 2l behind Diamond Harry (11-8) at Newbury 3m nov stks (2) gs in Feb.
New Alco (FR) 16-1 (11-10) Held up, some headway to moderate 5th after 4 out, no impression leaders, 5th of 9, 30l behind Neptune Collonges (11-10) at Punchestown 3m 1f chs G1 fm in Apr '08.
Chief Dan George (IRE) 7-1 (11-3) Always prominent, joined leader 10th, led next, not fluent 5 out, hard pressed 3 out, soon ridden, edged left under pressure flat, held on near finish, won at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Feb beating Tamarinbleu (11-9) by 1l, 9 ran.
Theatrical Moment (USA) 8-11fav (11-6) Tracked leader, led 4th, asserted 3 out, soon clear, eased flat, won at Leicester 2m 7f nov chs (3) sft in Dec beating Prince Taime (10-11) by 7l, 3 ran.
Ollie Magern 50-1 (10-10) Held up in touch, weakened before 12th, 6th of 13, 33l behind Razor Royale (10-5) at Kempton 3m hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Feb.
The Package 6-1 (10-0) Held up in rear, headway 12th, went prominent 16th, chased leader next, led going well 3 out, kept on well flat,readily, won at Cheltenham 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) sft in Dec beating The Tother One (11-6) by 1l, 12 ran.
Stan (NZ) 28-1 (10-2) In touch, pushed along 7th, behind and struggling 11th, tailed off, 7th of 9, 30l behind Big Fella Thanks (11-1) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs G3 (1) gs.
Bible Lord (IRE) 40-1 (10-5) Held up in rear, headway 12th, soon under pressure and beaten, weakened and pulled up soon after, in a race won by Razor Royale (10-5) at Kempton 3m hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Feb, 13 ran.
Knowhere (IRE) 11-1 (11-5) Chased leaders, hit 5th, pushed along and hit 16th, chased winner before 2 out, strong challenge and every chance last, upsides flat, no extra and held final 150 yards, 2nd of 8, 2 1/4l behind Eric's Charm (11-10) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs.
Officier De Reserve (FR) 16-1 (11-7) Held up towards rear, reminder after 7th, not fluent 10th, mistake and losing touch 19th, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Russian Trigger (10-9) at Uttoxeter 4m 1f lstd hcp chs (1) sft in Mar '09, 15 ran.
Ogee 1-2fav (11-8) With leader on inside, led 3rd, hit 10th, not fluent and headed 12th, led again approaching 13th, hit 15th, clear and hit 3 out, stayed on well, won at Southwell 3m nov stks (3) gs in Feb beating Pennek (10-12) by 20l, 4 ran.
Offshore Account (IRE) 10-1 (11-0) Prominent, 3rd 4 out, ridden in 3rd after 2 out, no extra before last, 7th of 11, 31l behind Anothercoppercoast (9-13) at Leopardstown 2m 5f hcp chs hvy in Jan.