Brooklyn's Gold has obvious claims despite his advancing years, and is the pick ahead of Cristophe, Houlihans Free and Manx Royal. Although now aged 11, Brooklyns Gold showed enough when second over fences at Bangor in February to suggest that he is capable of gaining a first visit to the winner's enclosure since he beat Rigmarole over hurdles at Kempton three years ago. The son of Seeking The Gold is well treated over the bigger obstacles compared to that sort of form, and a clear round should be enough to see him land the spoils. Cristophe was pulled up at Hereford in March on what was his first run for Peter Bowen and this will be only his second outing over fences in three years so he is perhaps best watched. Houlihans Free ran a fairly promising race when fourth to Fier Normand over hurdles at Ludlow in February and will come on for the run. Sure to have been well schooled, he will no doubt be found a suitable opportunity in time. Of the rest, Manx Royal has to be worth a mention, but we cannot put any of Pipe's forward with confidence, and so are happy to rely on Brooklyn's Gold.
Brooklyn's Gold (USA) 11-2 (11-10) Chased leaders, ridden 4 out, outpaced 3 out, kept on to go 2nd flat, 2nd of 10, 3 1/2l behind Haile Selassie (10-10) at Bangor 2m 1f nov hcp chs 0-105 (4) gs in Feb.
Champagne Sundae (IRE) 50-1 (11-0) Chased winner, led 3rd until after 4th, faded 4 out, fell last, remounted, last of 4, well behind Cousin Nicky (10-9) at Exeter 2m 3f nov chs (3) gs in Mar.
Cristophe 15-2 (11-3) Mid-division, weakened after 9th, tailed off when pulled up 3 out in race won by Witness Time (11-2) at Hereford 3m 2f cnd hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in Mar, 17 ran.
Houlihans Free (IRE) 20-1 (11-2) Mid-division, headway 4th, ridden approaching 3 out, weakening when mistake 2 out, 4th of 11, 27l behind Fier Normand (11-9) at Ludlow 2m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Feb.
In Contrast (IRE) 25-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders, hit 3rd, not fluent 8th, weakened 5 out pulled up 2 out in race won by Stavordale Lad (11-7) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-120 (3) gd in Mar, 10 ran.
Keepthedreamalive 9-1 (11-7) Led to 9th, every chance approaching 3 out, weakened 2 out, 6th of 10, 34l behind Harris Bay (10-10) at Leicester 2m 7f hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Feb.
Manx Royal (FR) 5-1 (10-7) In touch, reminders 4th, ridden 9th, weakened next, 5th of 10, 20l behind Smart Savannah (11-0) at Stratford 2m 4f beg chs (3) gs in Mar.
Latin Queen (IRE) 11-1 (11-1) Held up, headway after 7th, ridden after next, soon weakened, tailed off and pulled up 3 out in race won by She's Our Native (11-4) at Ludlow 2m 5f mrs hcp hdl (2) gf in Feb, 7 ran.