A stellar turnout featuring a dual Gold Cup winner, the reigning champion and three definite pretenders to the 2012 throne. Long Run sets the standard on his impressive King George and Gold Cup successes and will prove very tough to beat if returning at his best. However, he possibly needed his first run last season in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and DIAMOND HARRY is a value alternative. He loves this track, was ready to roll before being withdrawn on the morning of the Charlie Hall Chase and could not have been more impressive when taking the Hennessy Gold Cup last winter. Weird Al and Time For Rupert have fitness assured after their Charlie Hall 1-2 but arguably need to improve again. It's seems strange to say keep a watching brief on a dual Gold Cup, four-time King George and three-time Betfair Chase winner but that seems a sensible approach to the superstar that is Kauto Star.
Diamond Harry 6-1 (10-0) Took keen hold, chased leader until 11th(water), went 2nd again 16th, led narrowly 17th, soon joined, hit 4 out, ridden 2 out, stayed on very gamely under pressure flat, won at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Nov '10 beating Burton Port (10-1) by 1 1/4l, 18 ran.
Kauto Star (FR) 10-11fav (11-10) Tracked leaders, 5th halfway, niggled along after 7 out, ridden and dropped to rear after 5 out, eased and pulled up before next (rider reported never travelling), in a race won by Follow The Plan (11-10) at Punchestown 3m 1f chs G1 (1) gd in May, 8 ran.
Long Run (FR) 7-2fav (11-10) Held up mainly in 5th, headway 16th, ridden to chase leading pair after 3 out, led after next, ridden last, stayed on well to go clear flat, won at Cheltenham 3m 2f chs G1 (1) gd in Mar beating Denman (11-10) by 7l, 13 ran.
Pure Faith (IRE) 20-1 (10-4) Held up 3rd and last in touch, went 2nd 5 out, effort and every chance last, soon ridden, kept on flat, 2nd of 3, 1l behind Albertas Run (11-0) at Aintree 2m 4f ltd hcp chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct.
Time For Rupert (IRE) 11-8fav (11-3) With leader, led froom 1st, headed 8th, remained close up, led again 11th, not fluent and pressed 2 out, headed before last, kept on, 2nd of 7, 3 1/2l behind Weird Al (11-6) at Wetherby 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct.
Weird Al (IRE) 7-1 (11-6) Held up mid-division in 5th, went 3rd before 11th, jumped left 13th, went 2nd 3 out, ridden to lead before last, kept on well, won at Wetherby 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct beating Time For Rupert (11-3) by 3 1/2l, 7 ran.