Pigeon Island doesn't win often over fences and is 11lb higher than when successful at Uttoxeter in September but also lurking at the bottom of the weights is DASHING GEORGE and he's taken to spring a surprise. Richard Newland's charge was having his first start since scoring at Sandown in February of last year when a very close runner-up to Marufo at Aintree last month and surprisingly the assessor has left him on the same mark. Quartz De Thaix is at the other end of the weights but was such an impressive winner at Bangor last week that even a 9lb rise shouldn't prove too much of a problem. Universal Soldier looks a fine staying chaser in the making and will like the conditions but Railway Dillon didn't appear to appreciate heavy ground on his comeback at Carlisle. The going won't be a problem for Battle Group and he's dropped to a winnable mark and will be better for his comeback at Wetherby. The jury is out on Lie Forrit after his very poor reappearance at Kelso and he may not have the experience over fences for this.
Quartz de Thaix (FR) 9-1 (11-7) Mid-division, headway and in touch 12th, led 2 out, soon ridden, stayed on well to go clear from last, won at Bangor 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs beating Cotswold Charmer (10-7) by 7l, 10 ran.
Going Wrong 9-1 (11-11) Towards rear, outpaced 4 out, never dangerous, 15th of 20, well behind Hunt Ball (12-0) at Cheltenham 2m 4f Listed Novice Handicap Chase (0-140) (5yo+) (1) gd in Mar.
Merigo (FR) 20-1 (11-12) Held up in 3rd on outside, lost place after 10th, behind from next, no danger after, tailed off, 5th of 7, well behind Knockara Beau (11-8) at Kelso 2m 7f hcp chs 0-140 (3) sft.
Railway Dillon (IRE) 11-1 (11-0) Led to 5th, reminders and lost place 5 out, last of 4, well behind Bold Sir Brian (11-4) at Carlisle 2m 4f chs (2) hvy.
Universal Soldier (IRE) 9-1 (11-6) Behind, mistake 15th, headway 4 out, chased leaders under pressure next, kept on same pace from 2 out, no impression, 7th of 19, 13l behind Teaforthree (11-6) at Cheltenham 4m am nov chs (2) gd in Mar.
Quincy Des Pictons (FR) 33-1 (11-2) Mid-division, lost place when hit 4 out, soon behind, kept on under pressure approaching last, never near leaders, 7th of 20, 22l behind Hunt Ball (12-0) at Cheltenham 2m 4f Listed Novice Handicap Chase (0-140) (5yo+) (1) gd in Mar.
Zitenka (IRE) 25-1 (11-1) Tracked leaders, mistake 9th, soon weakened, 12th of 16, well behind I Have Dreamed (10-7) at Market Rasen 2m 6f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Jul.
Battle Group 8-1 (11-3) Held up towards rear, pushed along in 6th after 4 out, no chance when hit next, 6th of 11, 19l behind Bless The Wings (11-2) at Wetherby 2m 4f listed hcp chs (1) gs.
Gullible Gordon (IRE) 13-2 (11-8) Led until 2nd, led next until 4th, led 17th, headed 4 out, no extra last, 4th of 8, 21l behind Uncle Junior (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m 7f crs cntry chs (5yo+) (2) fm in Nov '11.
Lie Forrit (IRE) 9-4fav (11-8) Towards rear, headway before 12th, pushed along 4 out, soon weakened, 6th of 9, well behind Across The Bay (11-9) at Kelso 3m 2f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Oct.
Pigeon Island 7-1 (11-8) Always prominent, left 2nd briefly 3rd, headway to lead narrowly approaching 4 out, ridden last, kept on until headed and not pace of winner final 50 yards, 2nd of 12, 2 1/4l behind Alvarado (11-9) at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.
Dashing George (IRE) 15-2 (10-0) Tracked leaders on outside, driven after 3 out, 5 lengths down in 3rd next, rallied approaching last, stayed on well to chase winner flat, just held, 2nd of 9, 1/2l behind Marufo (10-7) at Aintree 3m 1f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Oct.