There are some potentially well-treated handicappers lining up here, including Captain Sunshine and November's Cheltenham winner Buck Magic. Loose Chips and Victor Leudorum arrive in good form, as does Trackmate, while Philip Hobbs saddles both Lamb Or Cod and Uncle Jimmy. Araldur made a winning reappearance at Sandown while Oscara Dara is back over hurdles after finishing second to Cantlow over fences at Plumpton, though he's unproven over this trip. His trainer, Nicky Henderson, also has BEAR'S AFFAIR in the race and this lightly-raced son of Presenting is fancied to concede weight all round if in the same form as when winning easily under 5lb claimer Jeremiah McGrath at Aintree. Black Thunder has been raised 6lb since his second at Haydock while Rigidity is too inconsistent to merit serious consideration and Son Of Flicka is possibly being readied for a return visit to the Festival, where he sprang a surprise last year.
Bear's Affair (IRE) 3-1fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, went 2nd after 8th, led 3 out, clear last, easily, won at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Dec beating Merrydown (10-5) by 10l, 11 ran.
Black Thunder (FR) 9-2 (11-12) Held up towards rear, headway from 2 out, went 2nd last 100 yards, kept on towards finish, just held, 2nd of 12, nk behind Yesyoucan (10-12) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Nov.
Loose Chips 8-1 (11-7) Made all, driven 2 out, hard pressed last, ridden and stayed on gamely flat, won at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) hvy in Dec beating Bathwick Brave (11-3) by 4l, 12 ran.
Oscara Dara (IRE) 10-11fav (11-0) Tracked leaders, pushed along 4 out, ridden next, effort to chase winner last, kept on one pace, 2nd of 4, 1 1/4l behind Cantlow (11-0) at Plumpton 2m 1f nov chs (3) hvy in Dec.
Son Of Flicka 50-1 (11-11) Took keen hold in rear, weakened 4 out, 11th of 12, well behind Araldur (10-11) at Sandown 2m 6f hcp hdl (2) sft in Dec.
Araldur (FR) 10-1 (10-11) Held up in rear, headway approaching 7th, chased leaders 2 out, ridden to challenge approaching last, soon every chance, stayed on to lead close home, won at Sandown 2m 6f hcp hdl (2) sft in Dec beating Kasbadali (10-10) by 1/2l, 12 ran.
Topolski (IRE) 50-1 (11-9) Behind, outpaced after 4 out, no impression when mistake and unseated rider next, in a race won by At Fishers Cross (10-10) at Newbury 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-150 (2) sft in Dec, 10 ran.
Captain Sunshine 8-1 (11-6) Led in start, behind, headway into mid-division 4th, effort on inside 3 out, kept on same pace, no impression approaching last, 7th of 18, 24l behind Double Ross (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Nov.
Victor Leudorum (IRE) 9-2 (11-1) Tracked leader until 5th, hampered and outpaced 3 out, left 2nd 2 out, no impression on winner, 2nd of 12, 4l behind Trop Fort (11-4) at Newton Abbot 2m 3f nh nov hdl (3) gd in Aug.
Oscar Prairie (IRE) 66-1 (11-5) Held up in last pair, pushed along 5th, outpaced 3 out, 8th next, ridden and headway approaching last, stayed on to take 2nd towards finish, no chance with easy winner, 2nd of 10, 7l behind Gevrey Chambertin (11-12) at Wincanton 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft.
Lamb Or Cod (IRE) 5-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, pushed along after 4 out, headway 3 out, weakened from 2 out, 8th of 12, 17l behind Yesyoucan (10-12) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Nov.
Secret Edge 33-1 (11-12) Mid-division on inside, ridden after 7th, soon behind, tailed off, 8th of 12, well behind Loose Chips (11-7) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) hvy in Dec.
Rigidity 25-1 (10-4) Soon ridden along and always behind, tailed off, 19th of 21, well behind Cause Of Causes (10-13) at Ascot 2m Listed hcp hdl (1) hvy in Dec.
Buck Magic (IRE) 7-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 3 out, left 3rd 3 out, led just before hit last, headed run-in, rallied gamely to lead again towards finish, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs in Nov beating Angles Hill (11-5) by 1l, 21 ran.
Trackmate 5-2 (11-7) Held up, took keen hold, hampered 6th, headway 3 out, challenged approaching 2 out, no impression towards finish, 2nd of 5, 2l behind Mavalenta (11-1) at Fontwell 3m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.
Sircozy (IRE) 20-1 (10-13) Behind, struggling 6th, soon beaten, 5th of 9, well behind Grafite (10-2) at Lingfield 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) hvy in Dec.
Uncle Jimmy (IRE) 2-1 (11-5) In touch in rear, headway to chase winner last (usual 3 out,) kept on one pace, 2nd of 6, 7l behind Ace Fighter Pilot (11-5) at Plumpton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Romeo Americo (IRE) 10-1 (11-12) Held up off the pace towards rear, ridden and struggling 3 out, mistake last, 8th of 11, 26l behind Quaddick Lake (11-9) at Wincanton 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Dec.