Twice a winner over fences at the end of last season, DOLATULO can add to his tally over hurdles by taking this contest. Last month's second at Stratford will have blow any cobwebs away and he's preferred to Munsaab. The latter will also have come on for a recent reappearance but one win in 15 starts over timber doesn't boost confidence. Orabora is lightly-raced and should have a successful season but Foxcub couldn't cope with a 17lb hike in the weights last time having won over track and trip before that. This is tougher than the seller won by Imperial Stargazer last month and Maller Tree looks in the handicapper's grip.
Maller Tree 7-2 (11-0) Led 3rd until 5th, led 7th until 8th, mistake 12th, not fluent 4 out or 3 out, weakened 2 out, 6th of 8, 48l behind Big Talk (11-0) at Stratford 2m 7f nov chs (4) gs in Sep.
Dolatulo (FR) 6-1 (11-5) With leader, led when hit 2 out, driven and headed between last 2, kept on same pace, no chance with easy winner, 2nd of 16, 12l behind Magnifique Etoile (11-12) at Stratford 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Oct.
Munsaab (IRE) 9-2fav (10-8) Held up towards rear, headway 8th, ridden 2 out, no extra from last, 5th of 11, 7l behind Crowning Jewel (11-1) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gd in Oct.
Knight Of Pleasure 11-1 (11-12) Towards rear, ridden and outpaced after 3 out, headway and stayed on between last two, staying on same pace and no impression when slightly hampered after last, 6th of 16, 11l behind Calculated Risk (11-12) at Ascot 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Apr.
Orabora 9-2 (11-12) Always prominent, led 3rd, not fluent and headed 2 out, not fluent last, one pace flat, 3rd of 13, 13l behind Saphir Du Rheu (10-7) at Taunton 2m 1f nov hdl (4) sft in Jan.
Orzare (IRE) 10-1 (10-2) Tracking leaders when blundered and lost place 3rd, behind and never jumped with any fluency after, eventually completed, tailed off, 7th of 8, well behind Ivor's King (10-11) at Ascot 2m 3f (3) gs.
Foxcub (IRE) 3-1fav (10-7) Mid-division, jumped slowly 4th, went 5th and ridden 3 out, jumped right and not fluent 2 out, 3rd and one pace before last, 3rd of 12, 13l behind First In The Queue (11-9) at Cheltenham 2m hcp (3) gd in Oct.
Imperial Stargazer 4-1 (10-12) Made all, clear to 2 out, quickened clear again between last 2, stayed on well, easily, won at Stratford 2m sell hdl (5) sft in Oct beating Rowlestone Lad (11-10) by 10l, 6 ran.
Zafranagar (IRE) 9-2fav (10-3) Chased leaders in 5th, every chance 2 out, no extra run-in, 6th of 15, 7l behind Hartside (10-3) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs.