LONG RUN is a horse of enormous potential and he can take this before heading to Cheltenham; Take The Breeze is an obvious rival and is preferred to Joe Jo Star on the list of dangers. Nicky Henderson still says that the selection is RSA-bound and that this race is just to help him get more experience and to keep the miles down. Therefore it may not pay to go overboard with bets but he is a talented recruit from France and his class may see him through. If too much pressure is put on his jumping around this tight track then Take The Breeze can take advantage. He has been very progressive this season and lost little caste in defeat in a top novice race in Ireland last time when third to An Cathaoir Mor. He has more natural speed than Long Run but he does have to concede 2lb to the likely favourite. Joe Jo Star is a 130+ rated hurdler and is not to be dismissed, despite his average chasing debut behind Woolcombe Folly at Doncaster earlier this month. Pigeon Island has more experience than most and has some solid placed form but he is hard to win with, whilst King Edmund's Plumpton win has not been franked. Long Run is preferred to Take The Breeze, but only just.
Take The Breeze (FR) 5-2 (11-12) Close 2nd, led from 5th, dropped to 3rd after mistake 3 out, soon ridden, no extra under pressure before last, 3rd of 7, 22l behind An Cathaoir Mor (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs G1 hvy in Jan.
Long Run (FR) 11-8fav (11-0) Held up in rear, headway to chase leaders 6th, mistake next and 12th, driven when mistake 2 out, drew clear after last, won at Kempton 3m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec beating Tazbar (11-7) by 14l, 7 ran.
King Edmund 14-1 (10-13) Jumped well, made all, came clear approaching last, ridden and kept on well flat, won at Plumpton 2m 1f nov chs (3) sft in Dec beating El Dancer (10-13) by 2 1/4l, 8 ran.
Joe Jo Star 20-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, raced keenly, just about in touch when hampered 4 out, soon weakened, 4th of 5, 23l behind Woolcombe Folly (11-0) at Doncaster 2m nov chs Grd 2 (1) gs.
Pigeon Island 14-1 (11-6) Held up towards rear, steady headway 4 out to chase leading pair after 3 out, pushed along and about 4 lengths 3rd and staying on same pace when fell 2 out, in a race won by Hey Big Spender (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov hcp chs 0-130 (2) sft in Jan, 11 ran.