BAKBENSCHER ticks plenty of boxes and can record his biggest success so far over the larger obstacles. He ran on strongly to score off a fast pace on his first try at this trip at Exeter earlier this month but had the speed to finish third in a competitive Cheltenham handicap over 2m5f on his previous start and can make light of his penalty here. Razor Royale beat Nacarat in this last year when Fistral Beach was an early faller. Paul Nicholls' charge won at Wincanton on his reappearance and has been well backed again this year but does race off a 4lb higher mark. The novice Quinz is entitled to respect, but so is stablemate Mostly Bob who may be the better handicapped of the pair. Sagalyrique, course specialist Polyfast and recent Warwick winner Hey Big Spender are others to consider in another fascinating renewal of this valuable handicap.
Nacarat (FR) 14-1 (11-10) Led, headed 3 out, soon ridden, 6 lengths down in 4th and held when mistake next, soon weakened, 4th of 9, 24l behind Long Run (11-10) at Kempton 3m chs G1 (1) gs in Jan.
Hey Big Spender (IRE) 17-2 (11-12) Held up in rear, took keen hold, headway 10th, led 4 out, driven out, won at Warwick 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs beating Fine Parchment (10-3) by 4l, 9 ran.
Tatenen (FR) 22-1 (10-13) Chased leaders, led approaching 11th, driven clear approaching 2 out, ran on well, won at Ascot 2m 5f hcp chs (2) gs in Jan beating I'm A Legend (9-8) by 16l, 11 ran.
Free World (FR) 10-1 (11-6) Held up in rear, mistake 3rd, jumped slowly 6th, not fluent and pushed along 8th, lost touch after 4 out, 7th of 9, 28l behind Cornas (11-2) at Sandown 2m hcp chs (2) sft in Jan.
Quinz (FR) 6-1 (11-9) With leader, led 4th, driven and headed before 2 out, ridden between last 2, one pace and lost 2nd last, no impression flat, 3rd of 8, 17l behind Time For Rupert (11-9) at Cheltenham 3m 1f nov chs (2) gs in Dec.
Bakbenscher 10-3 (11-7) Held up in touch, headway before 5 out, soon tracking leaders, every chance 4 out, led 2 out, kept on well, won at Exeter 3m grd chs (5yo+) (2) sft beating Definity (11-0) by 4l, 6 ran.
Crescent Island (IRE) 11-1 (11-3) Held up in touch, chased leaders 6th, mistake next, hampered 8th, led 4 out, clear before 2 out, idled last 100 yards, driven out, won at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs beating Regal Heights (10-8) by 3 1/2l, 10 ran.
Razor Royale (IRE) 40-1 (9-11) Behind, tailed off and struggling when blundered 4 out, pulled up soon after, in a race won by Diamond Harry (10-0) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Nov, 18 ran.
Mount Oscar (IRE) 10-1 (11-12) Mid-division, reminder 9th, outpaced when switched outside 11th, never dangerous, 6th of 11, 31l behind Fistral Beach (11-1) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Jan.
Fistral Beach (IRE) 7-2fav (11-1) Tracked leader, led 5 out, driven and stayed on from 3 out, drew clear flat, eased towards finish, won at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Jan beating I'm A Legend (9-13) by 4l, 11 ran.
Piraya (FR) 7-2 (11-4) Held up in touch, hard ridden approaching 12th, chased leaders 4 out, moderate late headway, never nearer, 4th of 11, 25l behind Tatenen (10-13) at Ascot 2m 5f hcp chs (2) gs in Jan.
Mostly Bob (IRE) 3-1fav (11-12) Held up towards rear, headway from 5th on inner, led 12th, clear before 3 out, shaken up after last, eased towards finish, won at Doncaster 3m nov hcp chs (0-125) (3) gd in Jan beating Frankie Anson (11-7) by 8l, 11 ran.
Sagalyrique (FR) 11-4 (11-12) With leader, led 7th, clear approaching last, ridden out, won at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd in Jan beating Double Vodka (11-6) by 5l, 7 ran.
Polyfast (FR) 9-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 12th, challenged 3 out, ridden after next, stayed on under presure to lead narrowly flat, just held on near finish, won at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Jan beating Safari Adventures (11-9) by hd, 10 ran.
Door Boy (IRE) 25-1 (10-9) Held up in touch, chased leaders 13th, ridden and weakened before 2 out, 9th of 15, 37l behind Tartak (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gs in Jan.
Ringaroses 25-1 (10-11) Mid-division, headway 7th, ridden 9th, weakened approaching 2 out, 8th of 17, 42l behind Ashkazar (11-12) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) gs in Jan.
Safari Adventures (IRE) 8-1 (11-9) Led, hard pressed from 3 out, ridden after next, headed narrowly flat, rallied towards finish, just held, 2nd of 10, hd behind Polyfast (11-12) at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Jan.