Charlie Hall Chase winner Harry Topper was very disappointing when last of three at Sandown subsequently and has to give weight to all of his rivals here. This is probably too far for Champion Court but ROCKY CREEK is a sound stayer and has the beating of Houblon Des Obeaux on their run together in the Hennessy. He looks the one to beat, though it's unlikely he'll end up in the Gold Cup unless others fall by the wayside. Restless Harry's luck changed at Newbury 10 days ago but he shouldn't be good enough to win a race like this and neither Pigeon Island nor The Giant Bolster appeal on what they've shown this season, though the latter does like it here.
Harry Topper 15-8 (11-11) Chased leader, not fluent 10th, jumped slowly 12th, jumped slowly and lost 2nd next, not fluent 15th, reminders before 16th (water), went 2nd again next, dropped to 3rd again 4 out, ridden and weakened before 2 out, last of 3, 14l behind Vino Griego (11-7) at Sandown 3m lst chs (1) gd in Dec.
Champion Court (IRE) 11-4 (11-6) Led, ran wide on bend after 7th, headed 4 out, no chance with easy winner from next, plugged on and well clear of 3rd, 2nd of 6, 23l behind Captain Chris (11-10) at Kempton 2m 4f lst chs (1) sft.
Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 6-4fav (11-6) Tracked leader, mistake 12th, led approaching 16th, driven along after 2 out, joined last, strongly pressed flat, battled on gamely to assert final 100 yards, won at Ascot 3m listed hcp chs (1) sft in Dec beating Cedre Bleu (10-5) by nk, 7 ran.
Restless Harry 5-1 (11-5) In touch, headway to 3rd after 12th, went 2nd after 14th, challenging when bumped 4 out and led soon after, clear 2 out, stayed on strongly, eased final 150 yards, won at Newbury 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft beating Bendant (10-13) by 17l, 11 ran.
Rocky Creek (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) In touch, headway to chase leaders before 16th, challenged, went 2nd and every chance 3 out, chased winner, every chance as winner hit last, upsides flat, no extra and held final 150 yards, 2nd of 21, 2 3/4l behind Triolo D'Alene (11-1) at Newbury 3m 2f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov.
Pigeon Island 16-1 (11-5) In rear, not fluent 5th, ridden and behind 10th, pulled up after, in a race won by Mendip Express (11-7) at Cheltenham 3m 2f hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft, 13 ran.
The Giant Bolster 7-1 (11-3) Led, slowed into 1st, headed before 5th, led again approaching next, not fluent and headed 7th, ridden after 9th, weakened from 2 out, 5th of 9, 50l behind Return Spring (10-13) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) sft.