Gullinbursti has always been held in high regard by Emma Lavelle but he hasn't quite fulfilled his potential so far over fences, winning just once in six starts. He has his fair share of weight here, as does the hat-trick-seeking Kruzhlinin who has done most of his winning north of the border. Unioniste is undoubtedly the class act but favourites have a poor record in this and he appeared to have a hard race in the Lexus at Leopardstown over Christmas. Grand National hero Auroras Encore is being targeted at Aintree again but Time For Rupert could be nicely treated on past form and it would be no surprise to see novice According To Trev in the firing-line if his jumping holds up. NIGHT IN MILAN beat subsequent winners Mart Lane and Baile Anrai here six weeks ago and, though the front-runner will be there to be shot at in the closing stages, Keith Reveley's charge will gallop all the way to the line and can repel all-comers.
Unioniste (FR) 9-2 (11-9) Tracked leaders and 5th halfway, close 6th 2 out, ridden in 7th entering straight and no impression before last, kept on one pace run-in, 8th of 9, 11l behind Bobs Worth (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec.
Roberto Goldback (IRE) 16-1 (11-8) Held up towards rear, not fluent 9th, driven 11th, mistake 14th (foinavon), soon well beaten, tailed off, 12th of 22, 50l behind Chance Du Roy (10-6) at Aintree 3m 2f hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Dec.
Auroras Encore (IRE) 20-1 (11-5) Held up, headway, 5 out, weakened 3 out, 5th of 8, 38l behind Cloudy Too (11-0) at Wetherby 3m 1f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
Gullinbursti (IRE) 5-4fav (11-0) Held up in 4th, headway to 3rd 9th, went 2nd next, ridden and lost 2nd approaching 2 out, one pace and no impression on leading duo before last, 3rd of 4, 3 1/2l behind Hadrian's Approach (11-4) at Newbury 3m grad ch (2) gs in Dec.
Kruzhlinin (GER) 4-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders, jumped left 12th, effort 2 out, led approaching last, ridden out, won at Kelso 2m 7f hcp chs (2) gs in Dec beating No Planning (11-5) by 5l, 8 ran.
Time For Rupert (IRE) 20-1 (11-7) Tracked winner, lost 2nd soon after 3 out, weakened before next, left poor 4th at the last, tailed off, 4th of 5, well behind Reve De Sivola (11-7) at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec.
Mart Lane (IRE) 9-2 (11-12) Tracked leader, led 7th, hit 9th, clear from 4 out, hit 3 out, stayed on strongly, hit last, won at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Dec beating Categorical (10-8) by 7l, 9 ran.
Niceonefrankie 9-4fav (11-0) Held up mid-division, weakened from 3 out, 5th of 11, 15l behind Cantlow (11-5) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs in Nov.
Night In Milan (IRE) 8-1 (10-11) Made all, ridden before 2 out, headed narrowly before last, regained lead last, kept on well towards finish, won at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gd in Dec beating De Boitron (11-12) by 6l, 8 ran.
The Rainbow Hunter 14-1 (11-4) Held up in rear, headway 4 out, never on terms, 6th of 12, 34l behind Sydney Paget (10-13) at Haydock 3m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Nov.
The Druids Nephew (IRE) 6-1 (10-8) Tracked leaders, headway 5 out, went 2nd 2 out, soon ridden, stayed on to press winner towards finish, just held, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind De La Bech (10-2) at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Dec.
According To Trev (IRE) 7-2 (11-0) Chased leaders until fell 10th, in a race won by Benvolio (11-0) at Newbury 3m (3) gs in Dec, 7 ran.
Solix (FR) 20-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, headway 4 out, soon no impression, 5th of 12, 28l behind Night Alliance (11-0) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Dec.
Native Gallery (IRE) 5-1 (11-1) Held up towards rear, mistake 10th, struggling 14th, plugged on to 5th after 4 out, went modest 3rd just before 3 out, no chance with leading duo and just held on for 3rd, 3rd of 8, 8l behind Planet Of Sound (11-12) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft.
Baile Anrai (IRE) 15-8fav (11-9) Prominent, led 2nd until 8th, hung right and outpaced approaching 4 out, rallied last, switched right flat, ran on to lead towards finish, won at Leicester 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Dec beating Christopher Wren (11-12) by 1l, 6 ran.