Harry Topper should be one to follow this winter but he was also engaged at Exeter yesterday. In his probable absence, Venetia Williams' five-year-old HOUBLON DES OBEAUX looks the one to be on. He arrived with a tall reputation from France at the end of 2010 and went on to finish second in a Grade 1 over hurdles before winning at Haydock and Cheltenham. He also finished well ahead of Volador when sixth at Aintree in the spring. Seven Woods has only had three starts under Rules and has already finished second in a point-to-point so should take to fences while Valmari sprang a surprise at Uttoxeter earlier this month on his chasing bow, though the second has been well beaten since.
Buffalo Creek (FR) 8-1 (11-0) Tracked leader, lost place 9th, mistake 13th, soon tailed off, pulled up 3 out, in a race won by Chamirey (11-0) at Towcester 3m beg chase (4) sft in Jan '11, 5 ran.
Go Amwell 18-1 (11-9) Held up in rear, ridden after 7th, behind from next, 9th of 15, 41l behind Genstone Trail (10-13) at Huntingdon 3m 2f hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd.
Harry Topper 10-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, not much room on bend after 1st, mistakes 2nd and 3rd, headway after 10th, weakened approaching 3 out, 7th of 19, 35l behind Lovcen (11-4) at Aintree 3m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Apr.
Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 9-1 (11-4) Mid-division in touch on outside, reminder after 7th, ridden and outpaced before 3 out, kept on same pace, no impression from next, 6th of 21, 26l behind Cape Tribulation (11-12) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gs in Apr.
Humphrey Bee (IRE) 4-7 (12-0) won at Clifton-on-dunsmore 3m ptp gd in May '11 beating Ted Gunther (12-0) by 12l, 5 ran.
Master Neo (FR) 100-1 (10-12) Behind, driven in 7th and struggling before 8th, tailed off and pulled up before2 out, in a race won by Heavenstown (11-3) at Fontwell 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) sft in Mar, 9 ran.
Rif (FR) 20-1 (11-7) Tracked leader, left 2nd 3 out, in 3rd and held when fell last, in a race won by Pensnett Bay (10-9) at Towcester 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Feb, 11 ran.
Seven Woods (IRE) 1-2fav (11-0) Mid-division, headway 6th, not fluent next, pushed along before 9th, responded to urgings to take 2nd 3 out, led next, ridden clear when edged right flat, stayed on, won at Ffos Las 3m mdn hdl (4) gs in Apr beating Duke Of Monmouth (11-0) by 2 3/4l, 8 ran.
Tallanstown Boy (IRE) 25-1 (11-10) Held up towards rear, hampered 2nd, reminder after next, hit 9th, mistake next, well beaten 4 out, pulled up before next, in a race won by Rash Move (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m hts chs (5) sft in May, 13 ran.
Valmari (IRE) 33-1 (10-11) Made all, mistake 3 out, driven out, won at Uttoxeter 2m 5f beg chs (4) gs beating Ackertac (11-4) by 4l, 7 ran.
Volador (IRE) 14-1 (10-13) Towards rear, mistake 6th, outpaced 4 out, never dangerous, 15th of 21, well behind Cape Tribulation (11-12) at Aintree 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gs in Apr.