This looks quite competitive with probably only Heavenstown, the returning Father Probus and Winston Churchill likely to struggle. Quinte du Chatelet, eased in grade, sees A P McCoy reunited with the Pipe team and he shouldn't be written off just yet while is nothing between Kaituna and course specialist Venetian Lad on their run together over C&D last month. EMPEROR'S CHOICE stepped up markedly on his chasing debut when chasing home Lord Tomnoddy at Ascot however. Only a five-year-old, there should be more to come from Venetia Williams' gelding and he gets the nod.
Quinte du Chatelet (FR) 33-1 (11-4) Prominent, ridden before 9th, weakened approaching 4 out, mistake and unseated rider 2 out, in a race won by Wings Of Smoke (11-9) at Newbury 2m 2f cond hcp chs (4yo+) (3) gs in Nov, 13 ran.
Kaituna (IRE) 2-1 (11-12) Tracked leader 2nd, led 5th until after 7th, led 9th, ridden after 3 out, headed 2 out, edged right and led again flat, stayed on gamely, won at Fontwell 2m 6f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Nov beating Venetian Lad (11-4) by 3/4l, 4 ran.
Emperor's Choice (IRE) 15-2 (11-6) Held up in 4th, hampered 15th, ridden and outpaced by leading trio after 2 out (usual 3 out), rallied and every chance in 3rd last, kept on same pace flat, went 2nd near finish, well held by winner, 2nd of 6, 4l behind Lord Tomnoddy (11-8) at Ascot 3m nov hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Nov.
Venetian Lad 4-5fav (11-4) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 3 out, challenged next, ridden to lead and dived at last, bumped and headed flat, held close home, 2nd of 4, 3/4l behind Kaituna (11-12) at Fontwell 2m 6f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Nov.
Heavenstown (IRE) 10-1 (11-2) Mid-division, jumped left, 5th when bad mistake 11th, went remote 4th before 4 out tailed off, 4th of 9, well behind Carrigmorna King (11-2) at Ludlow 2m 4f beg chs (4) sft in Nov.
Father Probus 8-1 (11-6) Prominent, led 7th, hung left and headed next, every chance 3 out, 4th and one pace after 2 out, 4th of 8, 15l behind Rossmore Lad (11-9) at Towcester 3m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd in Mar.
Winston Churchill (IRE) 33-1 (11-0) Held up behind, effort 2f out, never dangerous, 8th of 11, 9l behind Representingceltic (10-4) at Kempton 2m n h flat (4) std.