Sedgefield winner Kellystown Lad was engaged at Leicester on Tuesday and in any case, along with the exposed Blacktoft, looks to be facing a stiff task trying to give weight to BELLVANO. Successful twice over hurdles at Newbury last season, Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old chased home the classy Menorah at Kempton in between those wins and should get off the mark at the first time of asking over the larger obstacles if his jumping holds up. Hold Fast was only fourth when made favourite on his chasing debut at Carlisle but, only lightly-raced, has scope for improvement and looks the pick of the remainder ahead of Outside The Box.
Blacktoft (USA) 20-1 (11-9) Tracked leader, led after 4th, ridden and headed 4 out, soon under pressure, weakened 2 out, 4th of 7, 11l behind Osric (11-2) at Ffos Las 2m 3f nov chs (4) sft in Dec.
Kellystown Lad (IRE) 11-4 (11-1) Held up in rear and raced wide, headway approaching 11th, soon chased leaders, led approaching last and jumped right, kept on well, won at Sedgefield 2m 4f beg chs (4) sft in Nov beating Pokanoket (10-5) by 2 3/4l, 7 ran.
Bellvano (GER) 11-1 (11-1) Mid-division, headway 2 out, effort on inside between last 2, weakened last, 17th of 28, 26l behind Thousand Stars (10-5) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl G3 (1) gd in Mar.
Hold Fast (IRE) 11-4fav (11-2) Tracked leader, led 4th, blundered 7th, jumped right next, headed approaching 4 out, mistake and jumped left 2 out, jumped badly right last, soon weakened, lost 3rd place near finish, 4th of 8, 11l behind Divers (11-2) at Carlisle 2m nov chs (3) gd in Oct.
Outside The Box 100-1 (10-13) With leader until after 2nd, remained prominent, jumped right throughout, weakened after 8th, behind when mistake last, 5th of 7, 41l behind Medermit (11-5) at Plumpton 2m 1f nov chs (3) gs in Dec.