This Grade 2 contest has thrown up more than its fair share of surprises down the years but CUE CARD was an odds-on chance when successful 12 months ago and is likely to be a short price to become the first chaser since Edredon Bleu in 2003 to complete back-to-back victories in the race. Colin Tizzard's seven-year-old went on to land Grade 1 contests at Ascot and Cheltenham and was the only one to make a race of it with Sprinter Sacre at Aintree - he'll be ready for this. Fago was a little disappointing last season and has a bit to prove now but William's Wishes could be one to watch this winter if continuing to improve and Module still has plenty of scope. Kumbeshwar is back over his best trip and may have needed his comeback at Cheltenham and he's preferred to Somersby and the enigmatic Mad Moose of the others.
Cue Card 7-1 (11-10) Made most to 10th, in touch, led again 4 out, pushed along next, ridden and headed between last 2, no chance with easy winner before last, 2nd of 6, 4 1/2l behind Sprinter Sacre (11-10) at Aintree 2m 4f chs G1 (1) gd in Apr.
Somersby (IRE) 33-1 (11-10) Tracked leader to 3rd, close up in 3rd when blundered and unseated rider next, in a race won by Sprinter Sacre (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m chs G1 (1) gs in Mar, 7 ran.
William's Wishes (IRE) Evensfav (11-11) Held up in rear, headway to 4th 4 out, went 3rd travelling well before mistake and stumbled 2 out, recovered and switched right before last, challenged last, led and edged left flat, ridden out, won at Sandown 2m hcp chs (2) sft in Jan beating Nozic (9-10) by 2l, 6 ran.
Module (FR) 16-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, driven 4 out, outpaced in 5th next, left 4th 2 out, ridden and kept on under pressure flat, no impression, 4th of 13, 4 1/2l behind Benefficient (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov chs G2 (1) gs in Mar.
Fago (FR) 11-2 (11-4) Led from 2nd, headed 3 out, ridden before 2 out, soon weakened, 5th of 7, 27l behind Captain Conan (11-4) at Aintree 2m 4f nov chs G1 (1) gd in Apr.
Kumbeshwar 25-1 (11-10) In touch, not fluent 2nd, lost place before 3 out, 10th of 16, 26l behind Johns Spirit (10-3) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gd in Oct.
Mad Moose (IRE) 80-1 (11-10) Refused to race, took no part, in a race won by Sprinter Sacre (11-10) at Aintree 2m 4f chs G1 (1) gd in Apr, 6 ran.