DARK LOVER looked held when falling at Exeter last time and had been left clear to score at Cheltenham before that when Balder Success fell. He's burdened with a 10lb penalty as a consequence but is dropping down in class and won't need any luck to land this if running up to his best. Brick Red won in testing ground at Plumpton recently when Tchang Goon finished tailed off again. He looks the chief threat unless Festive Affair can post a much better effort than he did when well beaten in third here last month.
Dark Lover (GER) 2-1 (11-9) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd at 6th, ridden before 4 out, kept on same pace, no extra in clear 3rd when fell 2 out, in a race won by Manyriverstocross (11-1) at Exeter 2m 1f nov chs (2) gs in Nov, 5 ran.
Brick Red 4-6fav (10-12) Tracked leaders in 3rd, led before last, kept on well, won at Plumpton 2m 1f nov chs (3) hvy beating King Spirit (11-4) by 6l, 5 ran.
Festive Affair (IRE) 10-1 (11-0) Took keen hold tracking winner, jumped big 2nd, not fluent next, lost 2nd after 10th, soon outpaced and no chance, tailed off, 3rd of 4, well behind Vukovar (10-8) at Newbury 2m 2f nov chs (3) sft in Dec.
Merchant Of Milan 9-2 (11-7) Led, ridden briefly to get round bend after 4th, headed approaching 3 out, weakened before next, 4th of 6, 31l behind He's The Daddy (11-1) at Towcester 2m 5f (4) hvy in Dec.
Tchang Goon (FR) 100-1 (10-12) With leader, led 3rd, headed before 3 out, soon weakened, 4th of 5, 39l behind Brick Red (10-12) at Plumpton 2m 1f nov chs (3) hvy.