Christopher Wren was pulled up on his only previous try on heavy ground but did win on soft going at Wincanton last month. He shouldn't be far away if that has boosted confidence and he's preferred to recent Ludlow scorer Be All Man. Chestnut Ben will handle conditions but has a very poor strike rate and is now on a career-high mark. TOPAZE COLLONGES stopped quickly on turning for home at Chepstow on his reappearance but was a little free in the early stages and should strip fitter here. A winner twice on heavy going last season, he has the beating of Takeroc and can get back on track in this.
Christopher Wren (USA) 5-2fav (11-4) Held up, headway 5th, not fluent 6th, mistake and reminder next, hanging left after 3 out, led narrowly 2 out, still hanging left last, beginning to come clear when jinked right to paddock gate flat, ridden out, won at Worcester 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Oct beating Another Flutter (10-13) by 1 3/4l, 7 ran.
Be All Man (IRE) 9-1 (10-11) Tracked leader, challenged 5th, led 8th until after next, led again 4 out, driven after 3 out, hit last, held on well, won at Ludlow 2m nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Oct beating Woodbank (11-0) by 1/2l, 4 ran.
Takeroc (FR) 16-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, went 4th at 11th, outpaced and no chance from 5 out, weakened into 5th flat, tailed off, 5th of 6, well behind Get It On (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Oct.
Mam Ratagan 7-1 (11-0) Took keen hold, chased leading duo, went 2nd 5th until 7th, chased leaders, mistake 8th, blundered 4 out, weakened and no chance with leading trio soon after, 4th of 9, 23l behind Cruchain (10-10) at Cheltenham 2m cnd hcp chs (0-135) (3) gd in Apr '11.
Topaze Collonges (FR) 11-4 (11-4) Led, headed when mistake 5 out, soon dropped to 3rd, no chance with leading duo, 3rd of 6, 47l behind Get It On (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Oct.
Chestnut Ben (IRE) 15-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 8th, mistake 5 out, not fluent 4 out, 5 lengths down 3 out, not fluent last, stayed on, not quite able to challenge, 2nd of 7, nk behind Take Of Shoc's (11-6) at Chepstow 2m hcp chs 0-105 (4) gd in Oct.