Paul Nicholls has won this three times in the last six years with French imports and KELTUS can keep the run going. He was making steady progress at Auteuil in the spring and gets 7lb from the three previous winners in the race. Akdam has been beaten four times since scoring at Hexham in June and Wooly Bully was more than 15 lengths behind Refer at Stratford in August before winning at Fontwell. After Eight Sivola is a half-brother to smart stayer Reve De Sivola so looks the pick of the newcomers, though may need further in time.
Akdam (IRE) 11-4fav (11-0) Tracked leaders, hampered 3rd, led 3 out, ridden and headed next, strong challenge after, not fluent last, held close home, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Estinaad (10-8) at Perth 2m 3yo hdl (4) gs in Sep.
Refer 8-11fav (11-5) Close up, jumped badly right 2nd, tracked leaders 5th, chased winner 3 out, plugged on same pace, 2nd of 9, 15l behind Hanga Roa (11-5) at Huntingdon 2m 3yo hdl (4) gd.
Wooly Bully 9-2 (10-12) Tracked leaders, went 3rd after 5th, ridden before 2 out, led before and blundered last, kept on, won at Fontwell 2m 2f 3yo hdl (4) gd in Sep beating Alanjou (10-12) by 2l, 9 ran.
After Eight Sivola (FR) Shaanmer gelding out of Eva De Chalamont.
Brave Helios 8-1 (9-7) Raced wide close up, ridden over 4f out, weakened over 1f out, 6th of 8, 9l behind Hattie Jacques (9-7) at Nottingham 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-65 (6) gs in Aug (flat).
Innoko (FR) 25-1 (9-5) Held up 5th and last, outpaced 3f out, no chance with leaders final 2f, last of 5, 25l behind Sunblazer (8-5) at Windsor 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-85 (4) gf in Jul (flat).
Keltus (FR) 10-1 (10-1) 6th of 9, 9l behind Yallah Habibi (10-3) at Auteuil(FR) 1m 7f 3yo hdl hvy in Apr.