Five Star Wilsham has strong claims in this on his second to Hunter's Lodge at Cheltenham in October. Le Grand Chene won over a shorter trip at Towcester three weeks ago while Upton Mead arrives off the back of an easy win over 2m4f at Plumpton, though now has a penalty to carry. Rhum could go well if forgiven his run over 4m at Exeter and Rydalis was runner-up three times in a row before finishing fourth at Wincanton. BIG NEWS has failed to complete in two starts this term but did win a novice chase over this track and trip just under a year ago and Will Biddick's presence in the saddle suggests better is expected today. He might be a bit of value, though the step back up in distance should suit Taffy Thomas.
Shalimar Fromentro (FR) 8-1 (10-11) Led until 2nd, prominent, hit 12 out, led 6 out, headed 5 out, led again 2 out until last, no extra flat, 5th of 13, 10l behind Sire Collonges (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m 7f hcp chs (2) gd in Dec.
Lava Lamp (GER) 12-1 (11-8) Held up in rear, ridden 15th, mistake 17th, 6th after next, weakened before 4 out, pulled up 3 out, in a race won by Jayandbee (10-0) at Ludlow 3m 1f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Nov, 9 ran.
Rydalis (FR) 6-1 (11-6) With winner to 4 out, no extra from next, 4th of 9, 46l behind Count Guido Deiro (11-6) at Wincanton 3m 1f hcp chs 0-125 (3) hvy in Dec.
Five Star Wilsham (IRE) 50-1 (10-11) Mid-division, headway 3rd, 4th and one pace 2 out, left 3rd last, stayed on final 100 yards, went 2nd close home, 2nd of 15, 3/4l behind Hunters Lodge (11-3) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Oct.
Big News 6-1 (11-5) Chased leaders, driven after 6th, mistake next, behind from 9th, tailed off when pulled up after 11th, in a race won by King Massini (11-2) at Ludlow 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec, 7 ran.
Rhum (FR) 16-1 (10-11) Chased leaders, pecked 9th, weakened from 15th, pulled up, in a race won by Major Malarkey (11-5) at Exeter 4m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Dec, 12 ran.
Victory Gunner (IRE) 11-1 (11-6) Soon in rear, ridden briefly 4th, bumped 10th, driven next, last 13th, behind 16th, pulled up after, in a race won by Thomas Wild (11-3) at Newton Abbot 3m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Apr, 7 ran.
Mauricetheathlete (IRE) 7-1 (10-7) Tracked leaders in rear, ridden before 3 out, soon weakened, not fluent 2 out, last of 3, 35l behind Bit Of A Jig (11-0) at Sedgefield 3m 3f nov chs (4) gs in Dec.
Upton Mead (IRE) 9-4fav (11-7) With leaders, led 4th, left clear before last, won at Plumpton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-105 (4) hvy beating Overnight Fame (11-7) by 29l, 5 ran.
Taffy Thomas 9-2 (11-0) Held up behind, under pressure when mistake 11th, chased leaders 4 out, kept on same pace from next, never on terms, 4th of 8, 18l behind Plein Pouvoir (11-12) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Nov.
Le Grand Chene (FR) 16-1 (10-9) Held up, headway 4 out, outpaced 3 out, rallied from 2 out, led flat, soon clear, won at Towcester 2m 3f hcp 0-100 (5) hvy in Dec beating Guanciale (11-6) by 6l, 8 ran.
Epee Celeste (FR) 22-1 (11-12) Prominent, ridden after 7th, lost place approaching 11th, behind next, soon tailed off, 6th of 8, well behind Flemi Two Toes (11-6) at Huntingdon 3m hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy.
Cool Bob (IRE) 16-1 (10-5) Mid-division, outpaced before 3 out, weakened next, 7th of 10, 13l behind Kozmina Bay (10-0) at Uttoxeter 2m cond nov hcp hdl 0-100 (5) hvy in Dec.