A dual winner over hurdles, VIRAK is rated much higher over timber than today's rivals. Related to winning chasers in France, Paul Nicholls' charge could prove the one to beat if taking to the larger obstacles. The remaining trio have all had experience of fences though none threatened the winner including Don't Take Me Alive, who finished a well beaten second at Towcester last month. Roc D' Apsis was beaten a distance over these fences on his chasing bow while McCoy takes over the reins on Rio De Sivola, well beaten in testing ground at Auteuil last time.
Dont Take Me Alive 8-1 (10-7) Held up mid-division, headway before 9th, led before 3 out, headed before 2 out, soon beaten, 2nd of 7, 14l behind Claret Cloak (11-3) at Towcester 2m nov chs (4) gf in Oct.
Rio De Sivola (FR) (10-3) 8th of 11, 45l behind Milord Thomas (10-5) at Auteuil(FR) 2m 5f 4yo chs sft in Oct.
Roc D'apsis (FR) 8-1 (10-7) Held up in rear, not fluent 5th, closed before 6th, soon ridden along, outpaced from 8th, went well 3 out, well held 2 out, 3rd of 5, 23l behind Balder Succes (11-8) at Warwick 2m nov chs (3) gs.
Virak (FR) 11-1 (11-7) Took keen hold, chased leaders, ridden and weakened before 4 out, tailed off, last of 11, well behind Shammick Boy (10-13) at Chepstow 2m 4f hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) sft in Oct.