A pretty good renewal of this Grade 2 with the weights headed by last season's King George runner-up Captain Chris, who represents the trainer/jockey combination responsible for last year's winner. Conquisto and Alasi have both won this term but may lack the quality to get competitive at this level. Ghizao was a little disappointing last season and pulled up when Champion Court won at Cheltenham in April. Martin Keighley's runner didn't fare badly on his reappearance in the Paddy Power but the weights may favour MODULE and Riverside Theatre. The latter is a smart performer on his day and finished ahead of Champion Court and Ghizao in the Ryanair in March but he was well behind Captain Chris at Punchestown subsequently and Tom George's six-year-old has more scope. His second to Somersby in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter is already working out and there should be plenty more to come.
Captain Chris (IRE) 6-1 (11-10) Held up, 7th halfway, headway into 5th 5 out, ridden 3 out, under pressure in 4th entering straight, no extra before last, kept on one pace, 4th of 8, 14l behind Sir Des Champs (11-10) at Punchestown 3m 1f chs G1 (1) sft in Apr.
Champion Court (IRE) 6-1fav (11-6) Tracked leaders, effort when mistake 3 out, soon outpaced, no impression from next, 7th of 20, 20l behind Johns Spirit (10-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov.
Conquisto 28-1 (11-3) Mid-division, struggling 4 out, soon weakened, tailed off, 14th of 20, well behind Johns Spirit (10-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov.
Ghizao (GER) 6-1 (10-10) Tracked leaders, mistake 5th, pushed along 10th, lost place after next, pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by Champion Court (10-7) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G2 (1) gs in Apr, 7 ran.
Module (FR) 8-1 (10-4) Tracked leaders on outside, blundered 4th, driven and outpaced after 8th, stayed on to lead narrowly 3 out, ridden and headed last, rallied flat, just held, 2nd of 6, hd behind Somersby (10-7) at Exeter 2m 1f hcp chs Grade 2 (1) gs in Nov.
Riverside Theatre 10-1 (11-10) Held up, 6th halfway, no impression leaders from 4 out, ridden and no extra next, kept on one pace straight, 6th of 8, 34l behind Sir Des Champs (11-10) at Punchestown 3m 1f chs G1 (1) sft in Apr.
Alasi 5-1 (11-0) Held up in last trio, headway to track leading pair 6th, went 2nd 4 out, hit 3 out, driven after 2 out, led last edged left and pressed flat, held on, won at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs (2) gs in Nov beating Saved By John (10-12) by nk, 7 ran.