Dashing George ran out when leading a veterans' handicap at Doncaster on Wednesday and hasn't been given much time to recover. He'll also face a battle for the lead from Little Josh, who was probably still feeling the effects of a heavy fall at Cheltenham when pulled up in the Denman Chase at Newbury but has a touch of class at this level, though he'll be targeting Aintree again as will Chance du Roy. Golden Chieftain is useful on his day and didn't run badly at Exeter earlier this month while Niceonefrankie has been knocking on the door, though is creeping up the weights again. FRISCO DEPOT was quietly fancied for the Hennessy Gold Cup at the start of December but never threatened and was pulled up on the final turn. He remains a chaser of some potential and could be well handicapped here with Sam Waley-Cohen claiming 5lb. Charingworth and Escort'men may find this company too hot.
Little Josh (IRE) 33-1 (11-4) Chased leading pair, mistake 3rd, not fluent 7th, lost 3rd after next, weakened 10th, tailed off 13th, pulled up soon after, in a race won by Silviniaco Conti (11-10) at Newbury 3m chs Grd 2 (1) sft, 8 ran.
Chance Du Roy (FR) 33-1 (11-2) Mid-division, lost place 7th, soon behind, no danger after, 11th of 16, 45l behind Katenko (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) hvy in Jan.
Problema Tic (FR) 8-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, jumped slowly 3rd, headway 11th, 4th when fell 17th, in a race won by Hello Bud (10-0) at Aintree 3m 2f Listed hcp chs (1) hvy in Dec, 16 ran.
Frisco Depot 10-1 (9-10) Mistake 1st and next, held up behind, some headway on inside 5 out, weakened next, pulled up before last, in a race won by Bobs Worth (11-6) at Newbury 3m 2f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec, 19 ran.
Golden Chieftain (IRE) 4-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, led narrowly after 4th, headed 7th, chased leaders until badly outpaced and lost place 10th, rallied 3 out, stayed on to dispute 2nd flat, no chance with heavilly eased winner, 3rd of 11, 3 1/2l behind Rouge Et Blanc (10-0) at Exeter 2m 3f hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy.
Niceonefrankie 9-2 (11-10) Held up in touch on inside, not fluent 7th, headway approaching 10th, went 2nd approaching 3 out until 3 out, soon driven, no impression when left in 3 lengths 2nd again 2 out, stayed on same pace flat, 2nd of 8, 2 3/4l behind Bally Legend (11-6) at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Jan.
Dashing George (IRE) 10-1 (10-10) With leader and keen, led before 8th, jumped rail and unseated rider before 11th, in a race won by Monkerty Tunkerty (10-11) at Doncaster 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd, 10 ran.
Charingworth (IRE) 28-1 (10-11) Held up towards rear, outpaced before 13th, headway before 4 out, went 3rd before last, stayed on to chase winner run-in, always held, 2nd of 9, 3/4l behind Nuts N Bolts (11-2) at Ayr 2m 4f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy.
Escort'men (FR) 28-1 (10-0) Behind, mistake 11th, headway before 2 out, stayed on towards finish, 3rd of 7, 10l behind Molotof (11-0) at Warwick 2m 4f hcp chs (2) hvy.
Ballynagour (IRE) 7-1 (10-12) in a race won by Cigliano (11-0) at Clairefontaine(FR) 2m 3f hcp chs sft in Jul, 17 ran.