Rackham Lerouge looks the Henderson stable pick ahead of Bai Zhu but neither make particular appeal in this on what they've shown so far this term. Connak returned from a long break to win at Exeter but has a lot of weight for a novice while Fruity O'Rooney probably has to improve again on his second at Ascot to go one better here. FORTIFICATION won this when it was last staged in 2009 and beat the consistent Inside Dealer very easily at Exeter early last month before finishing third in the Southern National. Providing that latter contest hasn't taken too much out of him. Kieran Burke's gelding has to go close today. Promising Anshan was beaten when falling at Cheltenham last time while Midnight Appeal tries a new trip and is fitted with a visor for the first time.
Billie Magern 33-1 (10-0) Prominent early, tracked leaders, hit 7th, reminder and lost place after 10th, well behind 17th, pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by Carruthers (10-4) at Newbury 3m 2f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov, 18 ran.
Connak (IRE) 11-2 (11-3) Always prominent, not fluent 6th or 10th, led 3 out, eased close home, won at Exeter 3m nov chs (3) gs in Nov beating Our Island (11-3) by 2 3/4l, 9 ran.
Fruity O'Rooney 20-1 (11-11) Jumped mainly left throughout, led, not fluent 12th, headed 4 out, led again 3 out, headed before last, kept on and no chance with winner, 2nd of 11, 7l behind Prophete De Guye (10-10) at Ascot 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Nov.
Promising Anshan (IRE) 3-1fav (10-9) Tracked leaders, not fluent 1st, mistake 5th, not fluent 10th, struggling 3 out, 5th and no impression when fell 2 out, in a race won by Galaxy Rock (10-10) at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov, 11 ran.
Safari Journey (USA) 25-1 (10-11) Held up behind, pushed along after 7th, headway from 6 out, weakened before 3 out, 7th of 13, 36l behind Qianshan Leader (10-2) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs.
Fortification (USA) 10-1 (11-10) With winner, led briefly before 4th, challenged and not fluent 3 out, ridden before 2 out, weakened before last, 3rd of 16, 2l behind Giles Cross (11-12) at Fontwell 3m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Nov.
Bai Zhu (IRE) 7-1 (10-8) Close up, led 7th, headed before 12th, led again before 4 out, headed before 3 out, weakened before 2 out, 6th of 13, 32l behind Qianshan Leader (10-2) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs.
Rackham Lerouge (FR) 8-1 (11-9) Mid-division, headway on inside 12th, weakened before 4 out, tailed off, 9th of 13, well behind That'lldoboy (10-5) at Newbury 2m 6f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Nov.
Panjo Bere (FR) 14-1 (11-7) In rear, struggling from 9th, last of 5, well behind Qianshan Leader (10-13) at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Nov.
Midnight Appeal 5-2fav (11-4) In touch, mistake 6th, went 2nd 3 out, ridden and one pace from last, 3rd of 5, 6l behind Qianshan Leader (10-13) at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Nov.
Inside Dealer (IRE) 7-2fav (11-8) Led to 5th, mistake 15th, went 2nd 3 out, one pace and no impression, 2nd of 9, 11l behind Midnight Haze (11-11) at Ludlow 3m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs.
Fair Point (IRE) 20-1 (10-3) Held up, never dangerous, 12th of 18, 50l behind Ellerslie George (10-2) at Wincanton 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov '09.