Politeo took advantage of a tumbling mark at Wincanton four weeks ago but has been raised 8lb for that success, which might be enough to prevent a follow-up. Zarrafakt, Grove Pride and Requin were all pulled up last time but would have a chance on their best form and Ballyoliver is better than he showed at Leicester last month. Cootehill may appreciate the return to 3m but The Chazer tackles the longer trip for the first time and Pearlysteps looks harshly treated on what he's achieved. BUCK MULLIGAN is another probably better over shorter distances but this sharp track will help him get home and he was much more like his old self when successful at Sedgefield back in November. He goes well fresh and can add to his tally here.
Zarrafakt (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Mistakes in rear, behind 14th, pulled up before next, in a race won by The Package (11-1) at Wincanton 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov, 12 ran.
Pearlysteps 16-1 (11-0) Chased leading pair, went 2nd 5th, hit 12th, challenged 4 out, lost 2nd approaching 3 out, soon beaten, 4th of 5, 22l behind Harry Topper (11-7) at Exeter 3m grd chs (5yo+) (2) hvy.
Buck Mulligan 11-4fav (11-6) Mid-division, not fluent 1st, mistake next, closed when not fluent 7th, not fluent 9th, went 2nd after 3 out, led last, edged left towards finish, held on, won at Sedgefield 2m 4f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs in Nov beating No Planning (11-2) by nk, 9 ran.
Cootehill (IRE) 11-2 (11-12) Held up, hit 2nd, ridden 11th, in touch next, mistake and weakened 4 out, 4th of 8, well behind Grandioso (11-11) at Ludlow 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft.
The Chazer (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Chased leader, close up when fell 5th, in a race won by Cloudy Too (11-11) at Haydock 2m 4f Novice Handicap Chase (0-140) (5yo+) (3) hvy, 7 ran.
Grove Pride 8-1 (11-12) Mid-division, mistake and dropped towards rear 4th, struggling 7th, soon lost touch, tailed off when pulled up 4 out, in a race won by Rajdhani Express (11-6) at Kempton 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec, 8 ran.
Politeo (FR) 11-2 (10-8) Mid-division, hampered 4th, headway approaching 6th, ridden after 10th, rallied after 3 out, switched right just before 2 out, led going to last where not fluent, ridden clear, won at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Jan beating Milarrow (10-8) by 8l, 8 ran.
Ballyoliver 5-1 (10-13) Held up, jumped left and not fluent 5th, headway after 7th, not fluent 9th, mistake 13th, weakened before 3 out, 5th of 7, 29l behind Buddy Bolero (11-3) at Leicester 2m 7f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Jan.
Requin (FR) 7-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, headway and in touch halfway, outpaced 3 out (usual 4 out), soon weakened, pulled up before next, in a race won by No Secrets (11-4) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec, 8 ran.