Newcomer MENTALIST is certainly interesting here as he was only four lengths behind subsequent Group 1 winner Meandre over 1m2f at Maisons-Lafitte in April. If he can translate that form to hurdles, Venetia Williams' gelding may be too strong for Volcan Surprise, though Alan King's French import has already had experience of jumping at Clairefontaine. Captain Sharpe won at Newton Abbot in August but carrying a penalty on slower ground could be his undoing here and Flat winner Dark And Dangerous has more scope.
Captain Sharpe 4-9fav (11-0) Not fluent and raced awkwardly, disputed lead until 2nd, tracked leader, led between 3 out and 2 out, soon ridden, headed between 2 out and last, every chance when hit last, kept on, 2nd of 4, 1l behind George Woolf (10-12) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f 3yo hdl (4) gd in Oct.
Dark And Dangerous (IRE) 7-2fav (8-5) Held up in touch and keen, ridden over 1f out, soon weakened, 4th of 8, 15l behind Hidden Valley (9-1) at Bath 2m 1f 3yo hcp 0-75 (5) gd in Oct (flat).
Davids Dilemma 100-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, led until 4th, weakening when mistake next, soon pulled up, in a race won by Alfraamsey (11-5) at Kempton 2m 3yo hdl (3) gd in Oct, 10 ran.
Kambis 25-1 (9-2) Slowly away, switched right and held up in rear, headway on inside over 1f out, plugged on inside final furlong, never going pace to get involved, 7th of 12, 11l behind Strewth (9-7) at Kempton 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Jun (flat).
Mentalist (FR) 12-1 (8-11) 4th of 6, 3/4l behind Aloeil (8-11) at Saint-Cloud(FR) 1m 4f 3yo stk gs in Jun (flat).
Nothing To Hide (IRE) 20-1 (8-12) In touch, pushed along over 3f out, soon weakened, 9th of 12, 22l behind Duquesa (9-0) at Windsor 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-70 (5) gf in Oct (flat).
Rasam Aldaar 33-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, went badly left 1st, lost place when mistake 6th, tailed off, 5th of 8, well behind Colebrooke (10-12) at Fontwell 2m 2f 3yo hdl (4) sft in Oct.
Target Score Zamindar gelding out of Shoot.
Thunder Sheik (IRE) Green Tune colt out of Realy Queen.
Volcan Surprise (FR) (10-1) 2nd of 16, 2l behind Tango De Juilley (10-1) at Clairefontaine(FR) 2m 1f hdl sft in Jul.