Cannington Brook was involved in a battle to land this last year until his chief rival fell at the last and handed him the race. He's won here again since but races off a much higher mark this time around. Both Mumbles head and Quincy Des Pictons look high enough in the weights but Merry King is not without a chance despite a 6lb rise for his latest second at Newbury. Recent Kelso winner Douglas Julian has leading claims off his current mark with a conditional taking over the reins but the vote goes to RICH LORD. Ferdy Murphy's charge finished a decent third to a couple of much higher rated rivals from out of the handicap in a Listed chase at Newcastle last time and can come out best in this. Vamizi is another who could figure racing from the foot of the weights.
Cannington Brook (IRE) 5-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, reminder after 11th, outpaced 4 out, weakened 2 out, 4th of 7, 13l behind Sona Sasta (9-11) at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) hvy.
Mumbles Head (IRE) 16-1 (10-10) Fell 1st, in a race won by Hello Bud (10-0) at Aintree 3m 2f Listed hcp chs (1) hvy, 16 ran.
Quincy Des Pictons (FR) 14-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway before 5 out, kept on from 3 out, 3rd of 11, 9l behind Quartz De Thaix (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Nov.
Merry King (IRE) 10-1 (11-10) Always prominent on outside, went 2nd at 12th, challenged 4 out, ridden and every chance between last 2, kept on under pressure, held toward finish, 2nd of 15, 3/4l behind Rolling Aces (11-12) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs.
Wellforth (IRE) 20-1 (10-8) Held up in touch, weakened approaching 3 out, tailed off, 11th of 17, 36l behind Fair Along (11-12) at Newbury 3m hcp hdl 0-140 (3) sft in Nov.
Carrickboy (IRE) 4-1 (10-0) Mid-division, not fluent 7th or 9th, mistake an weakened 12th (canal turn), pulled up before 5 out, in a race won by Little Josh (10-9) at Aintree 2m 5f hcp chs (2) hvy, 9 ran.
Douglas Julian 20-1 (10-5) Chased leading pair, went 2nd 3rd, led 8th, hit 3 out, (normal 5 out), made rest, driven and stayed on strongly after bypassing omitted last, won at Kelso 2m 7f hcp chs (2) sft beating Lie Forrit (10-5) by 2 1/4l, 6 ran.
Mac Aeda 9-4fav (11-10) Chased leaders, slow 11th, headway after 5 out, soon ridden to challenge, every chance 2 out, weakened last, 4th of 9, 11l behind Wyck Hill (11-4) at Wetherby 3m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Nov.
Rich Lord 6-1 (9-11) Held up in rear and in touch, mistake 12th, pushed along before 4 out, went 3rd from 3 out, one pace, 3rd of 5, 5l behind Junior (11-12) at Newcastle 3m listed hcp chs (1) hvy.
Vamizi (IRE) 5-2fav (11-11) Held up in last pair, close up 10th, chased leading pair before 4 out, ridden before last, rallied to take 2nd flat, not reached winner, 2nd of 8, 3 1/2l behind Rebel Swing (10-13) at Carlisle 3m hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Oct.