These veterans' races are becoming increasingly popular and this one looks particularly well-contested. Marufo beat recent Sandown winner Dashing George at Aintree in the autumn and is 9lb better off here. He goes well fresh so a break since isn't a concern. Auroras Encore isn't without a chance at the weights while Corkage is back over fences on a decent mark and likes it here. His stable landed this two years ago. Always Waining will be back at his beloved Aintree in April and this looks like a prep race but the booking of McCoy for Zitenka catches the eye and he may be a better bet than Monkerty Tunkerty and Prophete de Guye at the weights. SWING BILL has been in decent form this season and comes here off the back of a staying-on fourth in the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences. If he transfer that form back over these more conventional obstacles, he should be hard to beat. West End Rocker is a course and distance winner but has been well below par in recent runs.
Always Waining (IRE) 11-1 (10-11) Chased leaders, led before elbow, soon ridden, stayed on strongly final 150 yards, won at Aintree 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Apr beating Chance Du Roy (11-7) by 4 1/2l, 26 ran.
Swing Bill (FR) 20-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, ridden 2 out, pressing for 2nd from elbow, stayed on, held towards finish, 4th of 16, 2 1/4l behind Hello Bud (10-0) at Aintree 3m 2f Listed hcp chs (1) hvy in Dec.
West End Rocker (IRE) 33-1 (11-5) Held up, reminders after 5th, not fluent 7th, well behind 9th, 12th of 18, 46l behind Ely Brown (11-0) at Warwick 3m 1f hcp hdl (2) sft in Jan.
Auroras Encore (IRE) 28-1 (11-12) Held up in mid-division, headway 10th, outpaced 15th, weakened 4 out, tailed off, 5th of 13, 46l behind Rigadin De Beauchene (10-3) at Warwick 3m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Jan.
Corkage (IRE) 8-1 (11-10) Led, outpaced 7th, weakened 4 out, tailed off, last of 8, well behind Storm Survivor (9-10) at Doncaster 3m hcp hdl 0-145 (2) sft in Dec.
Dashing George (IRE) 4-1 (10-6) Made all, challenged 3 out, soon drew clear, easily, won at Sandown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy beating Plein Pouvoir (10-11) by 9l, 6 ran.
Monkerty Tunkerty 9-2 (11-11) Held up towards rear, headway after 4 out, outpaced before 2 out, no impression after, 5th of 12, 11l behind Loch Ba (11-7) at Newbury 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Jan.
Marufo (IRE) 7-2 (10-7) Held up in touch, not fluent 3rd, headway 15th, led after 4 out, ridden 3 lengths clear between last, kept on until stride shortened final 50 yards, just held on, won at Aintree 3m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Oct beating Dashing George (10-0) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
Zitenka (IRE) 14-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders in 3rd, lost place from 7th, 5th of 10, 29l behind Cloudy Too (10-10) at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft.
Prophete de Guye (FR) 25-1 (11-3) Took keen hold in rear, struggling 12th, mistake 3 out, left modest 5th before next, tailed off, 5th of 9, 35l behind Brackloon High (10-9) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Jan.