Ockey De Neulliac had been chasing without success last season and though reverting to hurdles with an easy victory at Hexham it was only a seller and this is tougher. Penn Da Benn was also in action over fences last year and has a long absence to overcome, while Otto Des Pictons' only victory came in 2007. The last time Golden Dream ran over timber in July he won a novices' handicap at Uttoxeter and he's since been successful over the bigger obstacles. He can pose a threat but GRAND ART looks the one to be on. He was having his first run for Dave Roberts when Lee Edwards steered him to victory over American Art, who was on a five-timer, at Southwell two weeks ago with the remainder well beaten off.
Penn Da Benn (FR) 9-1 (10-12) Jumped left at some fences, keen hold and steadied behind leading pair after 3rd, chased winner 7th, led narrowly after 10th, headed next, weakened and lost 2nd 14th, soon lost touch and virtually pulled up, tailed off, last of 3, well behind Watamu Bay (11-4) at Exeter 3m nov chs (3) sft in Nov '10.
Ockey De Neulliac (FR) 10-1 (10-2) Held up and keen, headway before 7th, went 2nd 3 out, led after 2 out, soon clear, easily, won at Hexham 2m 4f sell hdl (5) sft beating Hoar Frost (10-4) by 13l, 9 ran.
Exit To Freedom 33-1 (10-6) Always behind, pushed along and struggling before 7th, tailed off, 13th of 16, well behind Dot Or Feather (10-11) at Wetherby 2m 6f cond nov hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gd in Oct.
Grand Art (IRE) 12-1 (10-5) Led 1st, remained prominent, every chance 3 out, led before next, driven clear, ran on well, won at Southwell 3m clm hdl (4) gd beating American Art (11-3) by 5l, 9 ran.
Dakota Boy (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Tracked leaders, ridden after 5th, went 2nd next until after 7th, weakened approaching 2 out where mistake, 3rd of 6, 33l behind Rossbrin (10-9) at Huntingdon 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gf in Apr.
Hada Men (USA) 40-1 (8-8) Held up towards rear, ridden and headway over 2f out, one pace, 7th of 16, 9l behind Puy D'Arnac (9-9) at Newcastle 2m hcp 0-65 (6) sft in Sep (flat).
Otto des Pictons (FR) 3-1 (11-1) Trckd ldrs; led 13; clr 15; hdd aft 2 out; wknd flat, 2nd of 10, 8l behind Billyvoddan (11-0) at Chaddesley Corbett 3m ptp gs in Jan.
Golden Dream (IRE) 9-2 (10-11) Prominent, joined leader 3rd until 9th, ridden 14th, weakened 3 out, 4th of 7, 34l behind Rossbrin (10-12) at Huntingdon 3m nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs.
I Got Music 66-1 (10-3) Always in rear, behind from 5th, 8th of 9, 22l behind Prince Of Denial (11-9) at Market Rasen 2m 3f cond hcp hdl 0-1115 (4) gd.