This race may have a grand title but KNOCKARA BEAU is George Charlton's stable star and will be fancied to follow up last month's C&D victory as he's still fairly treated on his best form. Lie Forrit looked promising last season but has hardly raised a gallop in two runs this term while this is Devotion To Duty's first run over this distance over fences, though he has been placed over 3m over timber. Douglas Julian may also be better over shorter while Classic Cut has been absent for a while and both Cavers Glen and Etxalar are racing from out of the handicap.
Knockara Beau (IRE) 5-2 (11-8) Made all, ridden and pressed when edged left between last 2, stayed on well flat, won at Kelso 2m 7f hcp chs 0-140 (3) sft in Nov beating Blenheim Brook (11-2) by 8l, 7 ran.
Devotion To Duty (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) In rear, outpaced 7th, soon behind, stayed on run in, went 4th near finish, 4th of 5, 16l behind Kumbeshwar (11-7) at Haydock 2m grad ch (2) sft in Nov.
Lie Forrit (IRE) 5-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear, pushed along before 9th, never dangerous, 7th of 11, 36l behind Quartz De Thaix (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Nov.
Douglas Julian 8-1 (10-12) In touch, pushed along before 6th, weakened 3 out, 6th of 11, 39l behind Bathwick Brave (11-2) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Nov.
Classic Cut 3-1 (11-2) Tracked leaders, close 3rd when fell 3 out, in a race won by Belon Gale (11-12) at Hexham 4m hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Nov '10, 6 ran.
Cavers Glen 20-1 (10-3) Held up in touch, chased leading pair 13th, went 2nd 3 out, effort next, soon ridden, 3 lengths down in 3rd and one pace when blundered and unseated rider last, in a race won by Knockara Beau (11-8) at Kelso 2m 7f hcp chs 0-140 (3) sft in Nov, 7 ran.
Etxalar (FR) 33-1 (10-2) Close up, led 10th, headed after 13th, weakened before last, 6th of 15, 13l behind Monsieur Cadou (10-0) at Haydock 3m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Nov.