Ohio Gold has now had eight tries over fences but was only beaten a short-head at Kempton last time. Annacotty won a Grade 1 at Kempton on Boxing Day so it's a surprise to see him back in a handicap as he looks to have no chance of reversing Chepstow running with Samingarry on much worse terms. Newbury second Dark Lover has a very good record here and can't be left out of calculations while Indian Castle may have come up against a smart novice at Wetherby last time, though was well beaten. THE ITALIAN YOB jumped really well when getting off the mark at Sandown last month and kept finding more when challenged. He has a 7lb higher mark to contend with here but could be up to the task. Renard D'irlande and Irish raider Shanpallas may be the pick of the remainder.
Annacotty (IRE) 12-1 (11-7) Made all, keen early, mistake 1st, driven clear when hit 2 out, ran on strongly, won at Kempton 3m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec beating Green Flag (11-7) by 10l, 5 ran.
Dark Lover (GER) 5-6fav (11-9) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd after 3rd, blundered 7th, hit 4 out, dropped to 3rd next, ridden and every chance last, chased winner final 200 yards and stayed on in closing stages, just held, 2nd of 5, nk behind Festive Affair (10-13) at Newbury 2m 1f nov chs (3) sft.
Shanpallas (IRE) 16-1 (11-6) Rear of mid-division, not fluent 2nd, progress approaching 2 out and 6th entering straight, ridden and no impression run-in, kept on one pace,, 6th of 14, 8l behind King Vuvuzela (10-0) at Leopardstown 2m 1f hcp chs sft in Dec.
Indian Castle (IRE) 2-1 (11-5) Led or disputed lead, ridden before 4 out, outpaced in clear 2nd next, soon no chance with winner, 2nd of 3, 16l behind Many Clouds (11-5) at Wetherby 2m 4f nov chs (3) sft in Dec.
Ohio Gold (IRE) 5-1 (10-12) Tracked leader, jumped left throughout, slow 5 out, ridden to challenge after next, stayed on strongly closing stages, just failed, 2nd of 7, shd behind Loose Chips (11-3) at Kempton 2m 4f (3) sft in Dec.
The Italian Yob (IRE) 11-4fav (11-5) Jumped well, led, narrowly headed 3 out, pressed leader, led again soon after 2 out, pressed last, driven and stayed on strongly to draw clear flat, won at Sandown 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Dec beating Roger Beantown (11-3) by 2 1/4l, 9 ran.
Tempest River (IRE) 8-1 (11-6) Chased leaders, effort 3 out, hit next, weakened before last, 3rd of 5, 17l behind Une Artiste (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 4f mares nov ch (4) gs in Dec.
Timesawastin (IRE) 25-1 (11-0) Led, not fluent 2nd, hit 9th and headed, led again after next until before last, weakened, last of 4, 17l behind Oscar Whisky (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov chs G2 (1) sft.
Renard D'irlande (FR) 5-2fav (10-11) Prominent, blundered and unseated rider 6th, in a race won by Edmund Kean (11-2) at Leicester 2m 7f (3) sft, 6 ran.
Samingarry (FR) 17-2 (10-6) Tracked leaders, lost place 10th, headway under pressure before 5 out, soon chased leaders, ridden and stayed on to lead flat, won at Chepstow 3m (3) gs in Dec beating Annacotty (11-1) by 1 3/4l, 7 ran.
Super Villan 5-1 (11-9) Led, headed 16th, weakened 5 out, behind when pulled up 3 out, in a race won by Leg Iron (11-3) at Warwick 3m 5f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Dec, 10 ran.