Cedre Bleu will probably start favourite here but made hard work of beating Brass Tax at Ascot two weeks ago and, back in a handicap, may be vulnerable. Mahogany Blaze went close at Newbury last time but has been raised 3lb for his efforts and hasn't won a race since 2008 while Gus Macrae has looked to be in the handicapper's grip in his last two runs. Sir Du Bearn has ability but is hardly reliable and neither Cadoudalas nor Carrickboy have shown much so far this term, though are starting to look well treated. SHOEGAZER hasn't run since landing a Listed handicap at Newton Abbot in September but will love the ground and the booking of McCoy suggests he'll be fit enough to do himself justice - he gets a speculative vote.
Mahogany Blaze (FR) 16-1 (10-6) Held up, headway approaching 5 out, hit 4 out, 3rd and ridden when left 2nd and hampered last, stayed on flat, joined winner towards finish, held close home, 2nd of 10, nk behind Bless The Wings (10-11) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs in Nov.
Shoegazer (IRE) 9-2 (11-7) Held up off the pace in 7th, closer order 7th, went 2nd before 3 out, led before 2 out, soon driven, pressed when left with advantage last, driven out, won at Newton Abbot 2m 5f listed hcp chs (1) sft in Sep beating Enfant De Lune (10-1) by 2 1/4l, 10 ran.
Cedre Bleu (FR) 5-4fav (11-0) Chased leader, challenged 3 out, upsides from next, went left last, driven ahead final 125 yards, won at Ascot 2m 5f grad ch (2) hvy in Dec beating Brass Tax (11-4) by 1/2l, 4 ran.
Gus Macrae (IRE) 14-1 (11-2) Held up, badly hampered 2nd, some headway after 4th, no extra in 4th before 2 out, 4th of 7, 23l behind Ulck Du Lin (11-5) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Dec.
Sir Du Bearn (FR) 9-1 (11-12) Held up behind, headway and in touch on inside after 12th, outpaced when hit 5 out, weakened next, soon pulled up, in a race won by Quartz De Thaix (11-7) at Bangor 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Nov, 10 ran.
Tail of The Bank (IRE) 9-2 (10-1) In rear, blundered 2nd, mistake and pulled up after next, in a race won by Oiseau de Nuit (10-13) at Chepstow 2m hcp chs (2) gs in Oct, 7 ran.
Cadoudalas (FR) 16-1 (10-8) Tracked leaders on inside, effort 5 out, outpaced next, weakened 2 out, 5th of 7, 31l behind Sona Sasta (9-11) at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Dec.
Carrickboy (IRE) 16-1 (11-1) Led, headed 4 out, rallied next, weakened 2 out, tailed off, 6th of 10, well behind Cannington Brook (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Dec.
See U Bob (IRE) 28-1 (11-5) Held up behind, driven 4 out, kept on from next, went moderate 4th before last, never reached leaders, 4th of 10, 23l behind Triptico (11-2) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec.