Sire De Grugy won this last year and though BELLENOS is unlikely to scale the same heights he was just beaten in a much stronger heat at Ascot last time, when Witness In Court was only sixth, and should have few problems going one better here as his old rival is now 4lb worse off. If the top two are anywhere near their best form, there is probably little hope for the remaining trio.
Bellenos (FR) 10-1 (11-3) Held up in rear, headway 5 out, chased leaders 3 out, stayed on under pressure to challenge after last, every chance close home, just failed, 2nd of 11, shd behind Manyriverstocross (11-7) at Ascot 2m 1f nov chs (2) gd in Mar.
Witness In Court (IRE) 12-1 (10-13) Disputed lead, blundered 7th, led 4 out, ridden after 3 out, headed approaching next, weakened last, 6th of 11, 11l behind Manyriverstocross (11-7) at Ascot 2m 1f nov chs (2) gd in Mar.
Mission To Mars (IRE) 10-1 (11-2) Prominent until weakened approaching 3 out, 8th of 13, well behind Horatio Hornblower (11-11) at Newbury 2m 3f cnd nov hcp hdl (0-120) (4) gd in Mar.
Peqeno Diablo (IRE) 6-1 (9-8) Mid-division on outside, closed after 3rd, ridden and lost place before 5th, 9th of 12, well behind Drombeg West (10-0) at Towcester 2m (5) hvy in Feb.
Red Whisper 50-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, not fluent 7th, jumped right and unseated rider next, in a race won by Professeur Emery (11-0) at Stratford 2m 1f nov chs (4) gf in Aug, 7 ran.