David Pipe is determined to improve his yard's already impressive strike-rate in this ultra-competitive handicap as he saddles six of the 21 entries. Greatwood winner DELL' ARCA looks to have a good a chance as any as he is open to further improvement and will be suited by today's softer surface. Despite being 8lb higher, the French import is fancied to confirm Cheltenham running with Flaxen Flare and Pine Creek and land this. Swing Bowler, another Pipe runner, is interesting as she goes well fresh and was third in last season's betfair Hurdle on soft going. Nicky Henderson has Rolling Star and Chatterbox in the line-up. The former may be the mount of Barry Geraghty but has a lot of weight and the latter didn't do much wrong on his reappearance at Newbury. Ptit Zig is another who could struggle under a welter burden but Totalize has been attracting support at the other end of the handicap as he was in good form on the Flat in the autumn. Chris Pea Green represents an in-form yard and looks in good heart while Willie Mullins' City Slicker will have McCoy's help in trying to complete his hat-trick.
Ptit Zig (FR) 3-1 (10-7) won at Auteuil(FR) 2m 3f 4yo hdl Grd 1 gd in Nov beating Le Grand Luce (10-7) by 2l, 11 ran.
Rolling Star (FR) 5-2 (11-6) Chased leaders, driven to challenge after 3 out, led after last, ran on strongly, won at Haydock 2m hdl (2) sft in Nov beating Doyly Carte (10-13) by 2 3/4l, 5 ran.
Shotavodka (IRE) 12-1 (11-1) Led, ridden and pressed last, headed and stayed on same pace flat, just held on for 2nd, 2nd of 17, 2 1/2l behind Vendor (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-150 (2) sft in Nov.
Chatterbox (IRE) 5-2fav (11-7) Tracked leading pair, went 2nd travelling well soon after 3 out, chance next, pushed along and well held between last 2, ridden flat, just held on for 2nd, 2nd of 8, 4 1/2l behind Ifandbutwhynot (10-11) at Newbury 2m Lstd hcp hdl 0-155 (1) gs in Nov.
Chris Pea Green 9-2 (11-3) Held up in last trio, headway to 3rd soon after 3 out, kept on under pressure flat and almost snatched 2nd but no chance with easy winner, 3rd of 8, 5l behind Ifandbutwhynot (10-11) at Newbury 2m Lstd hcp hdl 0-155 (1) gs in Nov.
Irish Saint (FR) 8-1 (11-7) Held up in last pair, steady headway 4 out, tracked leaders before 3 out, 4th and no impression 2 out, weakening when fell last, in a race won by Ifandbutwhynot (10-11) at Newbury 2m Lstd hcp hdl 0-155 (1) gs in Nov, 8 ran.
Flaxen Flare (IRE) 8-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, took keen hold, mistake 3 out, went 4th last, kept on same pace flat, 4th of 18, 6l behind Dell' Arca (10-5) at Cheltenham 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Nov.
City Slicker (IRE) 7-4fav (10-6) Made all, slight mistake 4 out, asserted approaching last and kept on well run-in, easily, won at Punchestown 2m hcp hdl 0-140 in Nov beating Bishopslough (10-4) by 4l, 11 ran.
Pine Creek 6-1fav (11-0) Tracked leaders, hampered and left 2nd 4th, not fluent 5th, mistake 3 out, disputing 6th and beaten last, stayed on same pace, 6th of 18, 7l behind Dell' Arca (10-5) at Cheltenham 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Nov.
Ronaldo Des Mottes (FR) 16-1 (11-5) In touch on outside, headway to chase leaders 4th, weakened before 2 out, 9th of 13, 10l behind Deep Trouble (10-11) at Sandown 2m Listed hcp hdl (1) gs.
Waterunder (IRE) 12-1 (11-1) Held up towards rear, headway and edged right before last, hung right and kept on flat, nearest finish, 5th of 13, 3l behind Deep Trouble (10-11) at Sandown 2m Listed hcp hdl (1) gs.
Dell' Arca (IRE) 12-1 (10-5) Held up in mid-division, headway after 5th, led before last, soon headed, led again 150 yards out, edged right towards finish, kept on well, won at Cheltenham 2m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gd in Nov beating Sametegal (11-7) by 1/2l, 18 ran.
Landscape (FR) 13-8fav (11-1) Held up towards rear, headway before 2 out, went 3rd before last, kept on same pace, 3rd of 9, 2 3/4l behind Darley Sun (11-0) at Stratford 2m 6f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Apr.
Swing Bowler 7-1 (11-0) Mid-division, outpaced 3 out, ridden and one pace on inside between last 2, weakened last, 15th of 19, 37l behind Quevega (11-5) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) sft in Mar.
Dan Breen (IRE) 20-1 (11-5) Tracked leader until 3rd, reminder next, well beaten after 3 out, plugged on flat, no impression, 6th of 9, 38l behind The Skyfarmer (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd.
Alaivan (IRE) 16-1 (11-12) Towards rear, weakened before 2 out, 8th of 9, 16l behind Zaplamation (10-1) at Wetherby 2m (3) gs.
Kaylif Aramis 14-1 (11-9) Mid-division, chased leaders 3 out, 6th and in touch when fell next, in a race won by Thomas Crapper (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (3) gd in Nov, 20 ran.
Recession Proof (FR) 14-1 (10-13) Tracked leaders, outpaced 2 out, soon weakened, 12th of 17, 22l behind Return Spring (9-13) at Cheltenham 3m 1f Listed hcp hdl (1) gd in Nov.
Vulcanite (IRE) 10-1 (11-11) Chased leader until 3 out, weakened rapidly and eased before next, tailed off, last of 13, 47l behind Deep Trouble (10-11) at Sandown 2m Listed hcp hdl (1) gs.
Totalize 14-1 (10-11) Mid-division, good headway on inside before 3 out, hampered on bend before last, soon switched right, stayed on same pace, 5th of 24, 14l behind Flaxen Flare (10-7) at Cheltenham 2m (1) gs in Mar.
Willow's Saviour 11-8fav (10-2) Always prominent, led 3 out, driven clear before last, easily, won at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl (2) gd in Nov beating Discovery Bay (10-8) by 3 1/2l, 10 ran.