De Blanc has a race of this nature in him and is taken to gain a deserved success at the main expense of Tango Royal and Pardishar. The last mentioned has been running consistently well recently but his better form is over further and Gary Moore's gelding may be done for speed by the selection. The Ian Williams-trained Downpour reverts to hurdling after an unsuccessful spell chasing and could probably do with some help from the handicapper so a bigger threat may come from Nicky Henderson's Lord Joshua, who is probably better than he showed when well beaten behind Stance over course and distance last month. Top weight Tango Royal is another returning to hurdles having run in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham. He has crept up in the weights following some brave efforts in defeat this season though and may struggle to concede 11lbs to De Blanc. The Venetia Williams-trained gelding holds solid claims on the form of his three-length second behind subsequent Totesport Trophy runner-up Bongo Fury at Doncaster and, while twice beaten since then, he remains on a handy mark and is taken to resume winning ways.
Tango Royal (FR) 28-1 Hampered 1st, always towards rear, no chance when fell 2 out in race won by Fota Island at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs Grd 3 (A) gd in Mar, 24 ran.
Hot Shots (FR) 33-1 Chased leaders until ridden and weakened quickly before 2 out, 15th of 19, 40l behind Medison at Sandown 2m lst hcp hdl (A) gs in Mar.
Borora 200-1 Held up, driven along and still in rear approaching 2 out, rapid headway and every chance approaching last, one pace flat, 3rd of 30, 4l behind Fontanesi at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl Grd 3 (A) gd in Mar.
Demi Beau 16-1 Prominent until after 3 out, 29th of 30, well behind Fontanesi at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl Grd 3 (A) gd in Mar.
Downpour (USA) 11-4 Always prominent, chased winner from 7th, no impression 2 out, 2nd of 7, 11l behind Golden Crusader at Hereford 2m beg chs (E) sft in Feb.
De Blanc (IRE) 10-3 Made most, ridden clear 3 out, hung right flat, headed near finish, 2nd of 6, 2l behind Sovereign State at Fakenham 2m hcp hdl 0-125 (D) gd in Mar.
Lord Joshua (IRE) 33-1 Held up, headway after 4th, weakened after 2 out, 10th of 21, 17l behind Stance at Newbury 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (C) gs in Mar.
Tighe Caster 6-1jt-fav Held up, headway when blundered 4 out, close up when hit 2 out, stayed on to go 2nd towards finish, no impression on winner, 2nd of 21, 4l behind Stance at Newbury 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (C) gs in Mar.
My Last Bean (IRE) 10-1 Tracked leader, headway and every chance approaching 3 out, soon ridden and weakened from last, 5th of 8, 3 1/2l behind Bodfari Signet at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (C) gf in Nov.
Burundi (IRE) 13-2 Held up, headway approaching 3 out, weakened 2 out, 5th of 12, 30l behind Minivet at Stratford 2m 6f clm hdl (F) gd in Aug.
Pardishar (IRE) 15-8 Tracked leaders, mistake 5th, effort from 9th, led 2 out, ridden, edged left run-in, 2nd of 6, 1/2l behind Geography at Plumpton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-115 (D) sft in Feb.