Local Hero extended his unbeaten record over hurdles by beating THIRD INTENTION by two lengths at Cheltenham last month. But Colin Tizzard's gelding didn't do himself any favours by pulling hard in the early stages of that contest and, if settling better here, can have his revenge on 3lb better terms. French import Houblon Des Obeaux made a promising start for Venetia Williams when chasing home Marsh Warbler in the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow and also enters the argument, but Kumbeshwar has more on his plate than when beating Professeur Emery on his debut at Sandown though is open to improvement. Vosges has won his last two starts at Musselburgh but may be out of his depth here.
Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 20-1 (11-0) Held up in touch, took keen hold, soon tracked leaders in 3rd, led briefly before 3 out, ridden before next, kept on from last, always held, 2nd of 8, 2 3/4l behind Marsh Warbler (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) sft in Jan.
Local Hero (GER) 15-8fav (11-4) Tracked leaders on inside, hit 5th, challenged on inside before last, upsides when mistake last, rallied gamely under strong pressure to lead final 110 yards, won at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 2 (1) gs in Jan beating Third Intention (11-4) by 2l, 7 ran.
Vosges (FR) 7-1 (11-5) Led, headed after 4 out, led last, kept on gamely flat, just held on, won at Musselburgh 2m 4yo hdl (2) sft beating The Starboard Bow (11-5) by hd, 8 ran.
Kumbeshwar 15-2 (10-12) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, not fluent 1st, mistake 4th, ridden and headway after 3 out, went 2nd before last, edged right and stayed on under pressure to lead towards finish, won at Sandown 2m 4yo hdl (4) gd beating Professeur Emery (10-12) by 3 1/2l, 12 ran.
Third Intention (IRE) 5-2 (11-4) Took keen hold, chased leader, led after 1st until after next, chased leader, went right awkward and led 2 out, ridden and joined last, stayed on under pressure and kept narrow advantage until no extra and headed final 110 yards, 2nd of 7, 2l behind Local Hero (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 2 (1) gs in Jan.