Top Smart was third behind Saturday's Racing Plus Chase winner Opening Batsman at Wincanton two runs ago but has a bit to find with Howard's Legacy on that form and was pulled up at Kempton earlier this month. The Musical Guy is usually worth opposing and Valoroso may be in need of a confidence-booster after failing at Wincanton but there should be more to come from VOLADOR. Successful twice over hurdles, he's jumping fences late in life but has been quite highly tried so far and may well outstay these if earlier races have caused the ground to cut up.
Howard's Legacy (IRE) 3-1 (10-10) Tracked leaders, not fluent 9th (water), went 2nd before 3 out, ridden 2 out, not fluent last, stayed on, 2nd of 5, 1 1/2l behind Opening Batsman (11-1) at Wincanton 2m 5f Novice Handicap Chase (0-140) (5yo+) (3) sft in Jan.
Top Smart 20-1 (11-8) In rear, blundered 7th, pushed along before 10th, tailed off when blundered 14th, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Prince Of Pirates (11-10) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs, 10 ran.
Flichity (IRE) 20-1 (9-10) In touch, weakened after 5 out, 10th of 15, 29l behind Be My Deputy (11-7) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp chs 0-100 (5) gd.
Quarl Ego (FR) 50-1 (11-2) Held up in rear, not fluent 2nd or 6th, well beaten after 9th, 13th of 17, well behind Seymour Eric (11-9) at Huntingdon 3m 2f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gs.
The Musical Guy (IRE) 5-2 (11-0) Tracked leaders, not fluent 11th, mistake next, blundered 2 out, soon beaten, mistake last, weakened flat, 5th of 6, 20l behind Safran De Cotte (10-11) at Leicester 2m 7f nov chs 0-125 (4) hvy in Jan.
Valoroso 20-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders on outside, went 2nd 4th until after 7th, challenged 3 out, led next, clear when slithered on landing and fell last, unlucky, in a race won by Milans Well (10-11) at Wincanton 2m 5f nov chs (4) hvy in Jan, 4 ran.
Volador (IRE) 9-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, jumped slowly 7th, headway to chase leaders 4 out, soon under pressure, stayed on to go modest 3rd towards finish, 3rd of 6, 18l behind Benheir (11-0) at Ffos Las 3m 1f hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Dec.