It's been nearly two years since either Pasco or Consigliere last won and, though both are smart handicappers on their day, they were well beaten in similar company last time. But ROUGHAM has more scope for improvement and, after finishing a close-up second in the mud at Exeter last month, Philip Hobbs' chaser is taken to add to last January's victory at Ascot off a 5lb higher mark. Ashfield's Dream also ran well when third in a Listed handicap at Newcastle on his latest start with Minella Theatre just behind. The latter was unlucky when unshipping his rider after being hampered at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, but Coup Royale blundered his way around Newbury on his reappearance until finally pulled-up and will have to brush up his jumping to figure.
Pasco (SWI) 11-2 (11-8) Held up in 4th, mistakes 8th (water) and 12th, shaken up after 3 out, ridden after next, no impression, well held last, last of 4, 18l behind Time For Rupert (11-8) at Newbury 3m chs (2) sft in Dec.
Consigliere (FR) 14-1 (11-5) Prominent, ridden and no impression on front pair 5 out, stayed on same pace, 3rd of 14, 19l behind Quincy Des Pictons (9-7) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs (2) hvy in Dec.
Rougham 5-1 (11-4) Led to 3rd, led before 5th, mistake 8th, headed before 4 out, one pace, 2nd of 4, 4l behind Torphichen (11-7) at Exeter 2m 1f grad ch (2) hvy in Dec.
Ashfield's Dream (IRE) 10-1 (10-3) Led, mistake 6th, jumped left 11th and 12th, headed before 4 out, kept on from last, 3rd of 8, 4l behind Hey Big Spender (11-12) at Newcastle 3m listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov.
Coup Royale (FR) 7-2 (10-7) Held up towards rear, hit 3rd, headway after 11th, ridden from next, soon weakened, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Chance Du Roy (11-4) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd in Nov, 14 ran.
Minella Theatre (IRE) 13-2 (10-4) Held up towards rear, hampered and unseated rider 6th, in a race won by Mostly Bob (10-10) at Cheltenham 3m 2f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs, 13 ran.
Atouchbetweenacara (IRE) 16-1 (10-2) Led until hit 3rd, prominent, 6th and struggling after 12th, well beaten before 4 out, 5th of 11, 39l behind Cannington Brook (10-9) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy in Dec.