This may well be the best novice chase to be run so far this season and the form should be worth following in the months ahead. Houblon Des Obeaux made it two out of two over fences when winning a Grade 2 at Wincanton earlier in the month but Hadrian's Approach will have to jump better than he did when just mastering The Druid's Nephew at Ascot if he's to figure here and the runner-up has let the form down since. Highland Lodge jumped impeccably when making all at Towcester and looks a nice prospect but HARRY TOPPER looked like a chaser in the making over hurdles last year and confirmed that impression when rallying to beat hot favourite Rocky Creek on his first start over the larger obstacles at Exeter. He loves the mud and can follow up here. Benefficient won easily at Down Royal and also looks useful but Makethe Mostofnow only won by a short-head at Ffos Las and is taking on better novices now.
Benefficient (IRE) 13-8fav (11-12) Made all, slight mistake 4 out, pushed out to assert before last, easily, won at Down Royal 2m 4f beg chs gd beating El Fontan (11-12) by 5l, 11 ran.
Hadrian's Approach (IRE) 7-4fav (11-2) Tended to jump left, hit 1st, chased leader until 10th, chased leaders, ridden along in 4th after 3 out, rallied to 3rd and hanging right when blundered 2 out, ridden and went 2nd last, hung right flat, driven ahead post, won at Ascot 2m 3f Beginners Chase (0-140) (4yo+) (3) gs beating The Druids Nephew (11-2) by ns, 9 ran.
Highland Lodge (IRE) 6-4fav (11-3) Took keen hold early, led, went left and stumbled 1st, made rest, went left 11th, came clear and stayed on strongly from approaching 2 out, unchallenged, won at Towcester 3m Beginners Chase (0-140) (4yo+) (3) gs beating Red Rocco (11-0) by 5l, 6 ran.
Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 9-1 (11-6) Pressed leader, led 6th, hit 3 out, soon ridden, stayed on well, won at Wincanton 2m 5f nov chs Grade 2 (1) gs beating Poungach (11-2) by 4 1/2l, 8 ran.
Harry Topper 11-4 (11-4) Tracked leaders, headway when not fluent 14th, led narrowly before 4 out, headed 2 out, soon ridden, rallied to regain lead flat, all out, won at Exeter 3m beg chs (4) gs in Oct beating Rocky Creek (11-4) by 1 1/4l, 10 ran.
Makethe Mostofnow (IRE) 11-10fav (11-5) Held up in rear and in touch, went 2nd 4 out, stayed on from last, led towards finish, just held on, won at Ffos Las 3m nov chs (4) sft in Oct beating Keppols Hill (11-5) by shd, 5 ran.