Paul Nicholls has won this with the likes of Flagship Uberalles, Azertyuiop and Master Minded in the past but Dodging Bullets has a lot to prove before he can be talked of in the same breath. He steps out of novice company in a bid to extend his unbeaten record but MODULE has the stronger form. His stamina appeared to run out when only fourth in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon last time but an earlier second to Somersby at Exeter can't be faulted as the top-class Cue Card was a further six lengths away in third. He won't mind the mud and neither will stablemate Majala. Raya Star should also handle the ground, as will Desert Cry. But Donald McCain's charge appears to face a stiff task at the weights, as does Lord Of The House.
Desert Cry (IRE) 9-2 (11-11) Held up in last, not fluent 9th, headway approaching 3 out, chased winner next, not fluent last, switched right flat, stayed on, unable to challenge, 2nd of 8, 3/4l behind Grey Gold (11-2) at Sandown 2m hcp chs 0-150 (2) hvy.
Dodging Bullets 7-4 (11-8) Sometimes jumped left, tracked leader 1st, closed 4 out, led before 3 out, came clear before 2 out, ridden after 2 out, kept on strongly, won at Kempton 2m nov chs Grade 2 (1) sft in Dec beating Grandouet (11-2) by 10l, 5 ran.
Majala (FR) 9-1 (11-10) Prominent, led from 2nd, joined 5th, mistake and headed at next, ridden when mistake 5 out, no impression from 3 out, pulled up before last, in a race won by Turban (11-2) at Fairyhouse 2m 1f sft in Jan, 13 ran.
Module (FR) 7-2 (11-2) Mid-division, ridden 5 out, stayed on approaching last, never troubled leaders, 4th of 7, 10l behind Riverside Theatre (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 4f Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec.
Lord Of House (GER) 7-2 (11-7) Chased leader, hit 4th, blundered and lost 2nd 7th, dropped to 4th next, rallied to 2nd again approaching 4 out, led narrowly next, joined 2 out, ridden and slight lead when hung badly left flat, stayed on and on top close home, won at Ludlow 2m (3) hvy in Jan beating Sir Valentino (10-7) by nk, 5 ran.
Raya Star (IRE) 3-1 (11-0) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd 4 out, pushed along and no chance with winner before 2 out, kept on for clear 2nd, 2nd of 4, 10l behind Fox Appeal (11-0) at Ascot 2m 3f nov chs Grade 2 (1) sft in Dec.