It may be significant that Daryl Jacob rides CEDRE BLEU in preference to Grandioso, who was a very good novice last season. The former clearly found 3m2f too far at Cheltenham in April but won over this trip at Haydock in March and is only 4lb higher today. Niceonefrankie may be the danger having got back to winning ways at Ascot, though Cantlow was quite highly regarded last season and Ackertac ran well on his reappearance at Sandown. Pauline Robson rarely wastes a trip this far south so Kelso third Upsilion Bleu also warrants a second look with Timmy Murphy partnering the five-year-old in preference to Full Jack. Easter Meteor and Hazy Tom have a bit to prove now, however, along with Quinz and Theatrical Star.
Ackertac (IRE) 14-1 (11-12) Soon tracking leaders, went 2nd from 9th, driven after 3 out, no impression on winner last, 2nd of 9, 12l behind Kapga De Cerisy (11-4) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft.
Grandioso (IRE) 9-4 (11-4) Tracked leader, reached for 5th, settled 3rd at 7th until 11th, went 3rd agin 4 out, went 2nd soon after 2 out, driven to lead before looking around and edged left last, kept on well flat, won at Kempton 2m 4f nov chs G2 (1) gd in Feb beating Molotof (11-7) by 1l, 5 ran.
Easter Meteor 20-1 (10-3) Tracked leader, led 10th (water), went left 3 out, narrow advantage when fell next, in a race won by Johns Spirit (10-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd, 20 ran.
Hazy Tom (IRE) 9-2 (11-6) Led, jumped left at times, not fluent 10th, headed next, weakened 3 out, last of 5, 46l behind Cloudy Too (11-6) at Carlisle 2m 4f Listed chs (1) hvy.
Cantlow (IRE) 11-2 (11-8) Held up behind, pushed along before 8th, plugged on from 4 out, never dangerous, 9th of 12, 22l behind Ultimate (11-2) at Wetherby 2m 4f Listed Handicap Chase (0-155) (4yo+) (1) gs.
Quinz (FR) 14-1 (11-1) Tracked leader, blundered 4th, lost 2nd 7th, chased leaders, led 8th until 16th, weakened 4 lout, tailed off and pulled up before last, in a race won by Houblon Des Obeaux (11-3) at Ascot 3m Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs, 16 ran.
Cedre Bleu (FR) 10-3fav (11-4) Tracked leaders, mistakes 9th and 14th, ridden briefly after 15th, led after 3 out, headed before next, one pace flat, lost 3rd close home, 4th of 9, 14l behind Life Of A Luso (10-1) at Cheltenham 3m 1f hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft in Apr.
Upsilon Bleu (FR) 5-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders in 3rd, led 4 out, headed 2 out, kept on towards finish, 3rd of 6, 1l behind Swift Arrow (11-4) at Kelso 2m 1f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs.
Full Jack (FR) 6-1 (11-11) Held up mid-division, no impression from 2 out, 3rd of 10, 21l behind Green Flag (11-4) at Kelso 2m 7f nov chs (4) gs in Oct.
Niceonefrankie 8-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders on outside, headway 12th, challenged 4 out, led approaching 2 out, driven clear between last 2, comfortably, won at Ascot 2m 3f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs beating Double Ross (11-11) by 13l, 7 ran.
Theatrical Star 16-1 (11-4) In touch on outside, lost place 4 out, soon outpaced, weakened 2 out, 9th of 17, 16l behind Anay Turge (10-7) at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd.