Now that Nicky Henderson has given him the green light, BOBS WORTH can show himself to be a potentially top-class staying chaser by landing this big prize. The fact that he was good enough to beat the classy Cue Card on his first appearance last season suggests fitness won't be a problem and he got better the further he went when beating First Lieutenant by more than two lengths in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in March, suggesting the extra quarter-mile here won't be a problem. He will be plenty short enough in the betting considering his lack of experience but still looks a worthy favourite. This is a race for up-and-coming chasers so the enigmatic Tidal Bay, Ascot winner Roberto Goldback and Irish National winner Lion Na Bearnai are all worth opposing but Hold On Julio has place prospects after a pipe-opener at Cheltenham and makes more appeal the Wincanton scorer The Package. Frisco Depot has attracted ante-post support and is well weighted but so is Harry The Viking, though it's a bit off-putting that he's been pulled up in his last two starts. Saint Are may be best of the rest as previous winner Diamond Harry and Carruthers are badly out of sorts and have been for a while.
Tidal Bay (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) Held up in rear, headway before 3 out to chase leader, ridden before last, led run-in, stayed on strongly, won at Wetherby 3m 1f hdl G2 (1) gs in Nov beating Crack Away Jack (11-0) by 4 1/2l, 6 ran.
Roberto Goldback (IRE) 9-1 (10-10) Patiently ridden towards rear, not much room 3rd, steady headway from 12th, chased leaders 4 out (normal 5 out), led bypassing omitted 2 out, soon clear, kept on strongly, won at Ascot 3m Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov beating Duke Of Lucca (10-4) by 9l, 14 ran.
Bobs Worth (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Tracked leaders on outside, joined leader 16th, effort 2 out, led narrowly last, ridden and stayed on well under pressure flat, going away towards finish, won at Cheltenham 3m nov chs G1 (1) gd in Mar beating First Lieutenant (11-4) by 2 1/2l, 9 ran.
First Lieutenant (IRE) 9-2 (11-10) Led and disputed, pressed from 3 out, headed last and kept on without matching winner run-in, 2nd of 8, 1l behind Kauto Stone (11-10) at Down Royal 3m Grade 1 chs (1) gs in Nov.
Hold On Julio (IRE) 13-2 (11-9) Mid-division, headway 6th, not fluent 15th or when ridden 3 out, hit 2 out, stayed on flat, 3rd of 19, 1 1/4l behind Balthazar King (11-4) at Cheltenham 3m hcp chs (2) gs in Oct.
Lion Na Bearnai (IRE) 33-1 (10-5) Mid-division, headway into 7th 6 out, ridden in 3rd entering straight, led before 2 out, soon strongly pressed and disputed, kept on well from last under pressure, asserted close home, won at Fairyhouse 3m 5f Ext hcp ch gs in Apr beating Out Now (10-1) by 4 1/2l, 29 ran.
Carruthers 25-1 (11-12) Led until 2nd, chased leaders, lost place 16th, weakening when blundered 18th, tailed off, 11th of 16, well behind Monbeg Dude (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m 3f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) sft in Nov.
The Package 5-1 (11-1) Mid-division, headway 12th, led after 5 out, stayed on well, won at Wincanton 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov beating Michel Le Bon (11-2) by 4l, 12 ran.
Teaforthree (IRE) 15-2 (11-1) Chased leader, led 8th until 10th chased leader until 15th, chased leaders, ridden and weakened well before 2 out, 8th of 16, 41l behind Monbeg Dude (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m 3f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) sft in Nov.
Fruity O'Rooney 50-1 (11-12) Prominent, ridden and outpaced before 2 out, soon weakened, 20th of 23, well behind Bondage (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gs in Oct.
Saint Are (FR) 11-1 (10-13) Chased leaders, went 2nd 3 out, led before 2 out, hung left before last, headed soon after last, rallied to regain lead last 100 yards, kept on gamely, won at Aintree 3m 1f lstd hcp chs (1) gd in Apr beating Battle Group (10-13) by 1/2l, 14 ran.
Duke Of Lucca (IRE) 10-1 (10-4) Chased leaders, driven and chased winner bypasing omitted 2 out, kept on same pace, 2nd of 14, 9l behind Roberto Goldback (10-10) at Ascot 3m Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov.
Diamond Harry 5-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, mistake 8th, struggling 14th, mistake 16th, pulled up before 5 out, in a race won by The Package (11-1) at Wincanton 3m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov, 12 ran.
Magnanimity (IRE) 12-1 (11-10) Chased leader in 2nd early, 3rd and pushed along from 4th, 4th at 5th, ridden and no impression 3 out, stayed on to 2nd 2 out, no chance with winner, kept on one pace, 2nd of 5, 20l behind Sizing Europe (11-12) at Clonmel 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Nov.
Harry The Viking 11-2 (11-7) Chased leaders, blundered badly 17th, soon lost place, behind and pulled up 4 out, in a race won by Monbeg Dude (10-0) at Cheltenham 3m 3f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) sft in Nov, 16 ran.
Ikorodu Road 8-1 (11-12) Tracked leading pair, pushed along after 7th, stayed on same pace from 2 out, 4th of 6, 10l behind Arkose (10-5) at Hereford 3m 2f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Nov.
Frisco Depot 5-1 (9-12) Took keen hold, close up behind leaders, not fluent 2nd, blundered 9th, chased leaders 15th, fell 2 out (normal 3 out), in a race won by Roberto Goldback (10-10) at Ascot 3m Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov, 14 ran.
Soll 8-1 (11-6) Held up behind on inside when brought down 12th, in a race won by Teaforthree (11-6) at Cheltenham 4m am nov chs (2) gd in Mar, 19 ran.
Alfie Spinner (IRE) 7-1 (9-11) Led, headed 4th, led again 8th, made most after until headed 11th, chased leader until after 2 out (normal 3 out) stayed on same pace in 3rd after, 3rd of 14, 14l behind Roberto Goldback (10-10) at Ascot 3m Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov.