AACHEN is preferred to Gold Award and Tataniano. The rain that has hit Prestbury Park will have been most welcome for connections and as handicaps look a tricky proposition for this 140-rated hurdler, the option to take on novices under a penalty has proved merely academic. Gold Award is sure to be popular given Nicky Henderson's form at Cheltenham this year. Bred with the flat in mind, he appears to need genuinely good ground. Tataniano made all to take a contest at Exeter before being comprehensively outclassed by Diamond Harry over further. Proper has done nothing wrong over hurdles and seems a progressive novice. Enfant De Lune has two disappointments to climb back from. Postmaster has made hay against weaker opposition while Nothing's Easy lowered the colours of Conflictofinterest at Kempton. Unfortunately that rival has run lamentably again when tried at Aintree since. Stage Acclaim hails from an unfashionable yard so is sure to be a couple of points bigger than his form entitles. Aachen can get back to winning ways.
Aachen 10-1 (11-7) In touch, mistake 5th, weakened after 3 out, 20th of 27, 44l behind American Trilogy (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl G3 (1) gs in Mar.
Enfant De Lune (FR) 4-1 (12-0) Tracked leader, mistake 3rd, ridden and weakened quickly 2 out, 11th of 14, 44l behind Stage Acclaim (10-4) at Lingfield 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Nothing's Easy (IRE) 16-1 (11-0) Took keen hold, held up behind leaders, went 3rd after 3 out, upsides 2 out, not fluent and led soon after last, held on gamely near finish, won at Kempton 2m nov hdl (4) gd in Mar beating Conflictofinterest (11-0) by ns, 7 ran.
Postmaster 8-1 (11-9) Held up, went 2nd 3 out, ridden approaching 2 out, soon no chance with winner, 2nd of 3, 6l behind Spanish Conquest (10-0) at Taunton 2m 1f nov hcp hdl (2) fm in Mar.
Smoke And Mirrors 6-1 (11-5) With leaders, ridden approaching 3 out, soon beaten, 12th of 21, well behind Kangaroo Court (10-9) at Doncaster 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Dec.
Tataniano (FR) 13-2 (11-9) Led, ridden and headed after 2 out, soon weakened, 4th of 6, 35l behind Diamond Harry (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Aussie Bay (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, ridden over 3f out, soon weakened, tailed off, 10th of 11, well behind Dizzy Whizz (10-7) at Plumpton 2m 2f mdn NH flat (6) gf in Oct.
Gold Award 8-11fav (11-0) Chased leaders, chased winner 3f out, soon pushed along, no impression from 2f out, 2nd of 12, 4l behind Valento (10-7) at Warwick 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar.
Stage Acclaim (IRE) 20-1 (10-4) Prominent, ridden to lead 2 out, hit last, all out, won at Lingfield 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar beating Eradicate (11-7) by 1 1/2l, 14 ran.
Proper (IRE) 5-2fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, led 2 out, ran on, won at Wincanton 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar beating Classic Swain (10-7) by 2 3/4l, 10 ran.