Anything Philip Hobbs runs in this is worthy of respect so old-timer Planet Of Sound, successful over track and trip on his reappearance, goes on the short-list. Tom George also knows what it takes and has Whats Happening in the line-up while Alan King runs both Bless The Wings and Midnight Appeal with Choc Thornton on the latter. It will be interesting to see how Ardkilly Witness gets on in this grade but Richard Newland's novice would probably prefer a stiffer test of stamina. Paul Nicholls' pair BURY PARADE and Grandioso were first and second over 2m6f at Ascot last time. The latter is better off at the weights today but we still fancy the relatively unexposed top weight to confirm the form and prove his class by grabbing this big prize as the step up to 3m on this sharp course shouldn't be a problem. Baile Anrai may be best of the rest as Standing Ovation is probably in the handicapper's grip now.
Bury Parade (IRE) 11-2 (11-6) Tracked leaders on outside, led before 2 out, clear before last, kept on strongly, won at Ascot 2m 5f hcp chs (2) hvy in Jan beating Grandioso (11-5) by 5l, 7 ran.
Planet of Sound 10-1 (11-12) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd 8th, led next, made rest, over 4 lengths clear 4 out, stayed on gamely, won at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Jan beating Jump City (11-0) by 2l, 8 ran.
Grandioso (IRE) 4-1fav (11-5) Tracked leaders on inside, not fluent 5th, travelling well after 3 out, went 2nd approaching 2 out, stayed on same pace, no chance with winner but well clear of 3rd, 2nd of 7, 5l behind Bury Parade (11-6) at Ascot 2m 5f hcp chs (2) hvy in Jan.
Bless The Wings (IRE) 13-2 (11-0) Held up in last pair, headway to chase leaders before 15th, went 2nd next, lost 2nd 3 out, soon pushed along, stayed on same pace in 4th from 2 out, 4th of 7, 10l behind Houblon Des Obeaux (11-6) at Ascot 3m listed hcp chs (1) sft in Dec.
Midnight Appeal 7-1 (11-12) Held up in last trio, headway to chase leaders 7th, left in narrow lead and badly hampered 3 out, ridden and headed 2 out, chased winner and stayed on flat, always just held, 2nd of 8, 3/4l behind Triangular (10-11) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy.
Whats Happening (IRE) 9-1 (11-7) Led until 2nd, tracked leaders, not fluent 2 out, soon switched right, edged left when close 2nd after last, no impression on winner towards finish, 2nd of 6, 2 1/2l behind Edmund Kean (11-2) at Leicester 2m 7f (3) sft in Jan.
Bally Legend 9-2 (11-4) Held up, headway on inside over 3f out, not much room brielfy over 2f out, went 2nd inside final furlong, stayed on, no impression on winner, 2nd of 14, 2l behind Caulfields Venture (11-4) at Kempton 2m n h flat (4) std in Jan.
Niceonefrankie 14-1 (10-13) Tracked leader, ridden before 4 out, no extra from 2 out, 5th of 15, 15l behind The Rainbow Hunter (10-9) at Doncaster 3m listed hcp chs (1) sft in Jan.
Ardkilly Witness (IRE) 9-2fav (11-2) Mid-division, headway after 12th, jumped right and mistake 18th, led before 2 out, jumped right and headed last, no impression towards finish, 2nd of 10, 3l behind Relax (11-1) at Sandown 3m hcp chs (2) hvy.
Standing Ovation (IRE) 15-8fav (11-0) Prominent on outside, led briefly 9th, mistake next, ridden and outpaced after 3 out, weakened before last, 7th of 10, 18l behind Handy Andy (10-5) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-140 (3) gd in Nov.
Jump City (FR) 8-1 (11-1) In rear, headway 16th, ridden after 4 out, no extra 2 out, 6th of 10, 24l behind Relax (11-1) at Sandown 3m hcp chs (2) hvy.
Baile Anrai (IRE) 25-1 (10-0) Held up towards rear, headway before 7 out on outer, chased winner run-in, kept on towards finish, 2nd of 15, 1 1/2l behind The Rainbow Hunter (10-9) at Doncaster 3m listed hcp chs (1) sft in Jan.
Tour Des Champs (FR) 14-1 (10-0) Chased leaders, blundered badly and lost place 8th, well behind 15th, soon pulled up, in a race won by Mountainous (10-0) at Chepstow 3m 5f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec, 20 ran.