Martin Pipe has won this six times in the past ten years and can do so again with Our Vic, who gets the call over the Hobbs pair Lacdoudal and Monkerhostin, with Mariah Rollins expected to go well at a big price. The stats point very much to this major prize once again going back to Pond House, that is providing that Our Vic, who has been very well supported this week, can overcome the jumping errors that have cost him dearly in the past. Third in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase here two years ago, he looked to have last December's Bonusprint Gold Cup all sewn up when falling at the last, handing the race to Monkerhostin who is now 17lb worse off. His jumping continued to let him down on his two subsequent starts, but the plus point is that he can start the new campaign on a mark of 149, and, reported to have schooled very well, he lines up as the stable's main hope. Monkerhostin finished third to Celestial Gold in this 12 months ago and collected the Haldon Gold Cup recently as a warm up. Richard Johnson prefers him to Lacdoudal, although the latter showed his well being by hacking up over hurdles at Chepstow three weeks ago in what was his prep-race. Redemption will have his supporters after his eye-catching second over hurdles at Wetherby, but those looking for one at a big price should heed the chance of Irish raider Maria Rollins. Third in last season's Arkle, she has a light weight, and with Graham Lee booked to ride, trainer Pat Fahy expects her to run a big race. Liberthine has been upped 10lb for her Mildmay of Flete victory here in which she had Brooklyn Breeze back in fourth. The latter may turn the tables as he has had the benefit of a winning comeback run over timber at Aintree last month, but if Our Vic treats the fences with the respect they deserve, then he can come good when it matters most.
Fondmort (FR) 50-1 (11-6) Mid-division, weakening when hampered 22nd (Becher's Brook), tailed off when pulled up 3 out in race won by Hedgehunter (11-1) at Aintree 4m 4f hcp chs Grd 3 (A) gs in Apr, 40 ran.
Forget The Past 7-4fav (11-10) Settled 3rd, 2nd from 6 out, led 4 out, clear after 3 out, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Punchestown 2m 5f nov chs Grd 2 sft in Apr beating Quazar (11-6) by 5l, 8 ran.
Therealbandit (IRE) 33-1 (11-5) Behind, ridden 11th, struggling 14th, soon tailed off, 11th of 19, 43l behind Jack High (10-0) at Sandown 3m 5f hcp chs Grd 3 (A) gs in Apr.
Monkerhostin (FR) 10-1 (10-5) Held up, mistake 2nd, headway 6th, led 4 out, drew clear after 2 out, ran on well, eased close home, won at Exeter 2m 1f hcp chs Grd 2 (A) gs beating Kauto Star (10-9) by 4l, 11 ran.
My Will (FR) 5-2fav (11-1) Chased leaders, blundered 10th, ridden approaching 3 out, chased winner approaching last, kept on flat, 2nd of 9, 2 1/2l behind Impek (10-7) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp chs Grd 2 (A) sft in Oct.
Our Vic (IRE) 13-2 (11-7) Held up, reminders after 3rd and 6th, some headway 11th, ridden after 14th, soon weakened, mistake 3 out and pulled up 2 out in race won by Grey Abbey (11-12) at Aintree 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (A) gs in Apr, 8 ran.
Lord Sam (IRE) 12-1 (11-10) Prominent, hampered 7th, never going well after, behind from 13th, tailed off when pulled up 3 out in race won by Kicking King (11-10) at Kempton 3m chs Grd 1 (A) gs in Dec, 13 ran.
Lacdoudal (FR) 9-2 (10-6) Held up in touch, led after 3 out, all out, won at Chepstow 2m 4f lst hcp hdl (A) sft in Oct beating Howle Hill (10-8) by a nk, 15 ran.
Brooklyn Breeze (IRE) 13-2 (11-6) Held towards rear, pushed along 4 out, ridden and headway 4 out, ran on to lead flat, won at Aintree 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (C) gs in Oct beating Town Crier (11-3) by 2l, 13 ran.
Liberthine (FR) 10-1 (10-12) Held up towards rear, hampered 9th, badly hampered 10th, never on terms after, 14th of 30, 44l behind Cregg House (10-5) at Aintree 2m 5f hcp chs (B) gs in Apr.
Full House (IRE) 7-2co-fav (11-6) Held up in touch, headway going easily 4 out, led 2 out, stayed on well, won at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp chs 0-145 (B) gf in Oct beating Vandas Choice (11-8) by 4l, 8 ran.
Mariah Rollins (IRE) 7-1 (11-1) Mid-division, improved into 2nd before straight, soon ridden, no impression and kept on same pace from before last, 3rd of 15, 3l behind Star Clipper (10-2) at Limerick 3m hcp chs gs in Oct.
Redemption 33-1 (11-0) Held up, hit 6th, headway 4 out, went 2nd 2 out, ridden and no extra flat, 2nd of 11, 3l behind Inglis Drever (11-8) at Wetherby 3m 1f hdl Grd 2 (A) sft in Oct.
Kandjar d'Allier (FR) 6-1 (10-3) Held up in mid-division, headway from 4 out, stayed on under pressure to chase winner before last, kept on under pressure run-in, 2nd of 16, 1 1/2l behind Buckby Lane (10-4) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs Grd 3 (A) gs in Jan.
Banker Count 8-1 (11-3) Always prominent, hit 7th, disputed lead next, outpaced 5 out, headway to lead next, soon ridden, headed after last, no extra flat, 3rd of 7, 2l behind St Matthew (10-12) at Wetherby 2m 4f lst hcp chs (A) sft in Oct.
Royaleety (FR) 8-1 (10-13) Mid-division, lost place after 7th, soon behind, 14th of 20, 45l behind Genghis (10-13) at Aintree 2m 4f lst hcp hdl (A) gs in Apr.
East Tycoon (IRE) 7-2 (10-9) In touch, mistake 6th, not much room next, stayed on one pace from last, 4th of 10, 10l behind Armaturk (11-12) at Lingfield 2m lst hcp chs (A) gd in Oct.
Turgeonev (FR) 11-2 (11-2) In touch, reminders 6th, ridden and outpaced 5 out, behind when pulled up 5 out in race won by St Matthew (10-12) at Wetherby 2m 4f lst hcp chs (A) sft in Oct, 7 ran.