Grafite and Johns Spirit both have experience over the larger obstacles. The latter appears to have a little more scope and is preferred of that pair today. However, there are a few useful hurdlers making their chasing bow in this and DESERT CRY may be the one to be on. Donald McCain's six-year-old contested most of the big handicaps in the spring and will have been well schooled. He won on his reappearance at Haydock last season. Saphir River may be one to watch when facing a more searching test of stamina while Ciceron won over hurdles at Sandown in January and is another to consider. Eurohunter, Highway Code and Jimbill should also pay their way over fences.
Brave Spartacus (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Chased leader, ridden 2 out, one pace, 5th of 11, 19l behind Patavium (10-13) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gs in Jan.
Ciceron (IRE) 33-1 (10-7) Held up mid-division, lost place over 4 out, 20th of 21, well behind Lifestyle (11-2) at Aintree 2m cond hcp hdl (2) gd in Apr.
Desert Cry (IRE) 14-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, ridden before last, never dangerous, 7th of 10, 16l behind Raya Star (11-6) at Ayr 2m Ltd hcp hdl (1) gd in Apr.
Eurohunter (IRE) 5-1 (11-5) Led, joined 3 out, ridden and hard pressed between last 2, headed last, held flat, 2nd of 6, 1 1/4l behind Hidden Future (11-1) at Ayr 2m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Mar.
Financial Climate (IRE) 15-2 (11-5) Chased leaders, not fluent 4th, weakening when jumped right 7th, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Same Difference (11-5) at Ffos Las 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Apr, 8 ran.
Grafite 18-1 (11-6) Tracked leader, outpaced approaching 3 out, stayed on approaching last, never able to challenge, 3rd of 11, 6l behind Harry Hunt (11-9) at Stratford 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gs in Oct.
Highland Brave (IRE) 14-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, headway 6th, ridden and well held 3 out, tailed off, 6th of 9, 46l behind Denton Ryal (10-11) at Southwell 2m sell hdl (5) gd in Aug '11.
Highway Code (USA) 6-1 (11-5) Led, driven and headed 3 out, weakened next, 6th of 8, 22l behind Sweet World (10-3) at Worcester 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in May.
Jimbill (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Set steady pace, headed approaching 2 out, no extra towards finish, 4th of 7, 4 1/2l behind Captain Sunshine (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nh nov hdl (2) gs in Apr.
Johns Spirit (IRE) 9-1 (11-2) Held up mid-division, headway when blundered 8th, kept on same pace from 4 out, never on terms, 5th of 11, 28l behind Rebel Rebellion (11-2) at Exeter 2m 1f Beginners Chase (0-140) (4yo+) (3) gs in Oct.
Saphir River (FR) 14-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders, weakened before 4 out, soon tailed off in rear, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Red Merlin (11-3) at Haydock 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) sft in May, 19 ran.
Tanwood Boy (FR) 66-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear and keen, headway before 4 out, weakened from 3 out, 7th of 11, 49l behind Tornado Bob (11-0) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f mdn hdl (5) hvy in Dec '10.
Tarn Hows (IRE) 9-2 (11-9) Tendency to jump right, made all, had a good look and went right 4th, driven along after 2 out, 3 lengths ahead when hit last, stayed on well, won at Stratford 2m nov hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd in Apr beating Doynosaur (11-4) by 6l, 12 ran.
Turbo Du Ranch (FR) 3-1 (11-10) Held up in touch, took keen hold, not fluent 6th, lost place when mistake 3 out, 10th of 13, 44l behind Sporting Boy (11-7) at Ludlow 2m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Oct.