A strange looking handicap with only 14lb covering the 24 runners. Sir Des Champs made a winning debut for Willie Mullins on soft ground at Navan after a heavy-going victory at Auteuil previously. How he'll handle the quicker ground is unknown but he could well prove a blot on the handicap. Ian Popham was on board when King Of The Night scored over 2m4f at Doncaster and an earlier success on this track points to the chance of Paul Nicholls' charge. David Pipe has had plenty of goes at winning this but has yet to succeed. This time he relies solely on Shoegazer, an impressive winner at Ffos Las and progressing nicely enough to make his presence felt. Evan Williams has booked top Irish conditional Bryan Cooper for SIBERIAN TIGER and can be rewarded as the six-year-old, runner-up to Ashkazar in a Listed contest at Sandown last April and better for a recent run behind Binocular on the Esher track, looks just the type for a race that is always run at a helter-skelter pace. With Philip Hobbs' yard in good form it should be no problem that the improving Qaspal hasn't had a run since landing the Imperial Cup at Sandown a year ago and he rates a major threat though the stable are also represented by the very consistent Karasenir.
Son Of Flicka 10-1 (11-3) Tracked leader, hard driven after 4 out, stayed on under pressure, no chance with winner, 2nd of 11, 4 1/2l behind Quartz De Thaix (11-12) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Nov.
Barizan (IRE) 12-1 (11-7) Tracked leader, lost place 4 out, soon behind, tailed off when mistake 3 out, last of 5, 35l behind Oscar Whisky (11-7) at Ffos Las 2m hdl (2) gs in Feb.
Astracad (FR) 7-2 (11-12) Held up in touch, raced keen, pushed along and hit 2 out, soon weakened, hit last, 6th of 15, 22l behind Bobs Worth (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nh nov hdl (3) gs in Jan.
Shalone 15-2 (11-0) Mid-division, hit 3rd, left disputing 4th and hampered 6th, hit next, challenged and every chance on outside 2 out, 3rd and held when hit last, soon lost 3rd, lost 4th post, 5th of 11, 6l behind Act Of Kalanisi (10-0) at Ascot 2m 3f hcp hdl (2) sft in Feb.
King Of The Night (GER) 7-2 (11-7) Held up towards rear, headway over 3f out, chased winner over 2f out, led 1f out, kept on well, won at Doncaster 2m 3f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) gd in Jan beating Basford Bob (11-2) by 1 1/2l, 11 ran.
First Point (GER) 14-1 (10-10) Mid-division on outside, headway and effort after 3 out, every chance when hampered next, no extra approaching last, 4th of 19, 11l behind James De Vassy (11-2) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl (2) gs in Jan.
Karasenir (IRE) 5-1 (10-11) Led after 1st, headed 3rd, led again 5th, headed 2 out, rallied flat, stayed on well, 2nd of 7, hd behind Ciceron (10-7) at Taunton 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gs in Jan.
Qaspal (FR) 11-4fav (10-3) Held up behind, headway 3 out, effort next, went 2nd before last, ridden and stayed on to lead flat, won at Sandown 2m lst hcp hdl (0-150) (1) gs in Mar '10 beating Oldrik (10-8) by 2l, 23 ran.
Palomar (USA) 33-1 (10-10) In touch on outside, lost place 3 out, soon weakened, behind when hampered next, 9th of 15, 24l behind Recession Proof (10-8) at Newbury 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) sft in Feb.
Siberian Tiger (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Tracked leader, hit 4th, ridden approaching 2 out, soon 3rd and beaten, 3rd of 4, 12l behind Binocular (11-8) at Sandown 2m Listed hdl (1) gd in Feb.
Sir Des Champs (FR) 11-8fav (11-10) Always prominent, disputed lead from 2nd, narrow advantage after next, headed 4 out but remained prominent travelling well on outer, shaken up to lead before last, stayed on well, not extended, won at Navan 2m hdl sft in Jan beating White Star Line (11-7) by 2 1/2l, 8 ran.
Riptide 14-1 (11-6) Led went right 3rd, headed after after 4th, stayed front rank until weakened after 4out, 13th of 17, well behind Grands Crus (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gs in Nov.
Shoegazer (IRE) 10-11fav (11-3) Held up in touch, keen hold, headway approaching 5th, not fluent 3 out, soon driven to challenge, led last, stayed on strongly, won at Ffos Las 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gs in Feb beating Benfleet Boy (11-8) by 3 1/2l, 6 ran.
Hollins 33-1 (11-2) Held up mid-division, pushed along before 3 out, no impression from next, kept on one pace, went 3rd towards finish, 3rd of 9, 27l behind Peddlers Cross (11-10) at Kelso 2m 2f hdl (2) sft in Feb.
Higgy's Boy (IRE) 12-1 (11-1) Behind, pushed along from 3rd, strong reminders 5th, 15th 2 out, switched inside and headway under pressure between last 2, 8th last, ridden and stayed on flat, never reached leaders, 5th of 17, 3 1/2l behind L'Accordioniste (11-9) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Dec.
Indian Daudaie (FR) 10-3 (11-0) Raced in 2nd, led before 2 out, soon ridden and strongly pressed, headed entering straight, no extra from before last, 5th of 11, 8l behind Unaccompanied (10-9) at Leopardstown 2m 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) hvy in Feb.
Monetary Fund (USA) 12-1 (10-4) Held up towards rear, headway after 6th, chased winner 7th, lost 2nd last, weakened flat, 3rd of 15, 7l behind Dynaste (10-6) at Taunton 2m 3f cond hcp hdl (2) gs in Dec.
Prince du Seuil (FR) 5-1 (11-12) Held up in last trio, steady headway after 3 out, chased leading trio before 2 out, hit last, stayed on flat, went 3rd close home, 3rd of 13, 8l behind Aviador (11-3) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-120 (3) sft in Feb.
Mister Hyde (IRE) 7-2fav (10-8) Mid-division, mistake 3 out, soon closed, ridden and weakened 2 out, 8th of 20, 32l behind Kilcrea Kim (10-12) at Sandown 2m 6f hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Feb.
La Bombonera (FR) 14-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, challenged 6th, not fluent 3 out, soon ridden and weakened, last of 7, well behind Numide (11-6) at Bangor 2m 4f nov hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft.
Rose Of The Moon (IRE) 13-2 (11-4) Held up mid-division, pushed along before 7th and reminder, weakened from 4 out, 5th of 8, 21l behind Back In Focus (11-4) at Haydock 3m nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Feb.
Sahrati 15-8fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, pushed along when not fluent 6th, lost place after 3 out, weakened approaching 2 out, soon eased, tailed off, 8th of 10, well behind Grand Zouki (11-5) at Sedgefield 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Aug.
Kauto Relko (FR) 14-1 (10-8) Mid-division on outside, switched inside and headway after 3 out, led next, soon ridden, kept until headed and no extra final 75 yards, 2nd of 12, 1l behind Pegasus Prince (10-9) at Market Rasen 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gs in Feb.
Dantari (IRE) 25-1 (10-0) Led and clear to 5th, headed after 3 out, ridden and lost place after next, no impression approaching last, 6th of 22, 15l behind Carlito Brigante (10-12) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd.