Pantxoa has been waiting for quicker ground which he'll get here. Three times a winner last summer, he ran well to finish runner-up here in October then found the ground too soft at Wincanton. He'll be tough to beat but the concession of 8lb to SAINT ROQUE looks beyond him. Paul Nicholls' charge won a novice hurdle here in October and has competed at a much higher level than these rivals over timber. He makes his chasing debut but won on his only start between the flags and can begin his new career with a victory. Karinga Dancer was also a very useful hurdler and he has the benefit of experience over fences having won and been placed at Doncaster this season. The remaining pair have plenty to find.
Pantxoa (FR) 10-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, lost place 14th, soon behind, lost touch and pulled up 3 out (usual 4 out), in a race won by Standing Ovation (10-2) at Wincanton 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov, 13 ran.
Karinga Dancer 8-11fav (11-4) 3rd of 5, 17l behind Western Warhorse (10-12) at Doncaster 2m 3f nov chs (3) gs in Jan.
Next Oasis (IRE) 6-1 (11-6) Prominent, lost place 5th, behind when reminders 7th, tailed off 10th, soon pulled up, in a race won by Plein Pouvoir (11-12) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Nov, 8 ran.
Saint Roque (FR) 50-1 (11-7) Mid-division on outside, headway approaching 7th, tracking leaders when hit 2 out, soon beaten, eased heavily and pulled up before last, in a race won by Very Wood (11-7) at Cheltenham 3m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar, 18 ran.
Wheelavher 25-1 (9-7) In touch on outside, under pressure when hit 11th, soon lost place, behind 4 out, tailed off, 9th of 11, well behind Best Boy Barney (10-10) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-100 (5) gd.