MR CHOW had no trouble defying a big weight at Taunton last week. It's no surprise that David Pipe has elected to turn him out again quickly under a penalty here as he will no doubt go up a few pounds for that success. The progressive eight-year-old should complete his hat-trick as only the veteran Nemetan, among his rivals, has won so far over fences and Waldsee is having his first start over the larger obstacles. The lightly-raced Ravastree wasn't disgraced when fourth at Newbury in November, however, and could be the one to chase home the selection if improving a little on that effort.
Mr Chow (IRE) 3-1 (11-12) Mid-division on inside, headway when left in lead 12th, made rest, drew clear from 3 out, comfortably, won at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-105 (4) gs in Dec beating Hopeful Start (11-8) by 20l, 14 ran.
Nemetan (FR) 9-1 (11-12) Led to 1st, remained prominent, driven and outpaced approaching 4 out, kept on same pace from next, no impression, 5th of 13, 7l behind That'lldoboy (11-4) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Nov.
Ravastree (IRE) 20-1 (10-6) Prominent, led approaching 2nd, headed 4th, led 6th, mistake 7th (water), soon headed, stayed handy, ridden 4 out, no impression on leaders from 2 out, 4th of 15, 21l behind Roalco De Farges (11-6) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd in Nov.
Stormyisland Ahead 12-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, not fluent 1st or 9th (water), hit 10th, never in contention, 5th of 10, well behind Quincy Des Pictons (10-3) at Ludlow 2m 4f nov hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Dec.
Waldsee (GER) 40-1 (10-9) Raced wide and keen, in touch until weakened 4 out, 11th of 13, well behind Carrickmines (11-2) at Taunton 3m hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in Dec.