All eyes here will be on Rock On Ruby and the former champion hurdler will be heading to the Arkle if all goes to plan. However, he didn't jump with any great fluency when making a winning start over fences at Plumpton and is already a nine-year-old. Fox Appeal was impressive at Ascot last month and boasts a decent level of form. But this looks on the sharp side while God's Own, second in a novices' handicap here on his chasing bow, may need more time. Caid Du Berlais was a decent hurdler and won easily at Exeter while Valdez has done nothing wrong so far but ARNAUD beat a couple of useful rivals at Killarney and Roscommon last summer and an easy recent win over hurdles will have blown away any cobwebs. Charles Byrnes' raider could surprise a few of these.
Fox Appeal (IRE) 5-4fav (11-0) Jumped well, took keen hold tracking leader, led narrowly 10th, came clear before 2 out, stayed on strongly, easily, won at Ascot 2m 3f nov chs Grade 2 (1) sft in Dec beating Raya Star (11-0) by 10l, 4 ran.
Arnaud (IRE) 4-5fav (11-5) Made all, clear from last, easily, won at Downpatrick 2m 2f hdl gd in Dec beating Seskinane (11-7) by 7l, 5 ran.
Caid Du Berlais (FR) 4-11fav (10-7) Made all, clear from 11th, won at Exeter 2m 3f nov chs (2) gd in Dec beating Farmer Matt (11-0) by 13l, 5 ran.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) Evens0fav (11-0) Tracked leader, left in lead 3rd, headed soon after, mistake 4 out, led on bit 2 out, very easily, unextended, won at Plumpton 2m 1f nov chs (3) sft in Dec beating Lindsay's Dream (10-7) by 4l, 3 ran.
Valdez 2-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, headway 7th, tracking leaders when left 2nd 8th, led next, clear before 4 out, went markedly right next, very easily, won at Newbury 2m 1f (3) gd in Nov beating Un Bon P'tit Gars (10-9) by 24l, 5 ran.
God's Own (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, left 2nd 4th, hit 8th, pushed along and no impression before 4 out, hit 2 out, kept on for clear 2nd, 2nd of 8, 6l behind Next Sensation (10-12) at Doncaster 2m (3) gs in Dec.