Problema Tic is eased in grade after finishing fourth at Aintree and falling in the Scottish Grand National. He has ability and should be a factor here with a clear round but we're inclined to take a chance on the fitness of Paul Nicholls' MR HUDSON. He's had a year off but is unlikely to arrive here undercooked and there is still plenty to work with for the former champion trainer. Palace Jester is still unexposed over fences but has become a little disappointing while Mr Gardner, Qianshan Leader, Top Smart and Sarando have a bit to prove at present. Prophete de Guye wins in his turn but usually at a lower level than this.
Problema Tic (FR) 20-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, fell 2nd, in a race won by Godsmejudge (11-3) at Ayr 4m hcp chs G3 (1) gd, 24 ran.
Mr Gardner (IRE) 10-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, ridden and losing place when fell 4 out, in a race won by Pigeon Island (10-8) at Ascot 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd, 13 ran.
Mr Hudson (IRE) 5-2 (11-5) Tracked leaders, pecked slightly when left 2nd and hampered 4 out, weakened 2 out, clambered over last, lost 2nd flat, tailed off, 3rd of 4, well behind Duke Of Lucca (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m 1f nov chs (2) gs in Apr '12.
Qianshan Leader (IRE) 16-1 (11-12) Held up, not fluent 5th, hit 9th, headway 17th, mistake and lost place next, pulled up after, in a race won by Top Dancer (10-8) at Cheltenham 3m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs, 15 ran.
Prophete de Guye (FR) 25-1 (10-13) Held up in rear on outside, headway approaching 9th, went 2nd before last, no chance with winner, 2nd of 17, 16l behind Lower Hope Dandy (10-9) at Cheltenham 3m nov hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs.
Lamboro Lad (IRE) 7-4fav (11-8) Tracked winner, challenging and 1 length down when fell 2 out, in a race won by Wellforth (11-12) at Bangor 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Aug, 3 ran.
Top Smart 66-1 (11-6) Towards rear, headway into mid-division when hit 15th, not fluent 20th, pushed along in 9th when fell 4 out, in a race won by Back In Focus (11-6) at Cheltenham 4m am nov chs (2) gs in Mar, 16 ran.
Sarando 15-2 (11-5) Chased leaders, dropped to rear at 10th, tailed off when blundered 12th, pulled up before next, in a race won by Violin Davis (11-7) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gf, 9 ran.
Palace Jester 9-2 (10-5) Mistake 1st, chased leader until 8th, chased leaders until outpaced and lost place approaching 13th, rallied after 2 out, stayed on under pressure in 4th when badly hampered last, not recover, 4th of 9, 8l behind Violin Davis (11-7) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gf.