It was heavy ground when Sibenek won this off a 1lb lower mark last year and he'll need more rain if he's to repeat. Preference is for THE MAGIC BISHOP as he scored at Hexham last month and is fancied to defy a 7lb rise in the weights on only his third start over fences as the runner-up Fred Bojangals has subsequently won. Palace Jester was brought down at this track on his chasing bow but disappointed at Chepstow last time, while Open De L'Isle has shown little over fences so far and Blue Shark makes more appeal on his third at Hexham back in May.
Palace Jester 14-1 (11-9) Blundered 1st, soon chasing leaders, not fluent 7th, lost place approaching 5 out, 8th of 12, 33l behind Educated Evans (10-11) at Chepstow 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Oct.
Sibenek (IRE) 18-1 (11-7) In rear, jumped slowly 3rd and next when given reminders, ridden 7th, headway 10th, weakened 2 out, 9th of 10, 49l behind Logans Run (11-7) at Hexham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gf in May.
The Magic Bishop 6-1 (11-6) Towards rear, outpaced 4 out, rallied between last 2, stayed on strongly to lead towards finish, won at Hexham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Oct beating Fred Bojangals (11-9) by 1 3/4l, 7 ran.
You Know Yourself (IRE) 13-2 (10-10) Held up towards rear, hit 10th, ridden and headway before 3 out, weakened before next, 6th of 11, 28l behind Persian Gates (10-7) at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Oct.
Hockenheim (FR) 3-1fav (10-1) Led, headed 4th, tracked leader, weakened before 4 out, pulled up, in a race won by Gansey (11-7) at Newcastle 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Feb, 7 ran.
Et Maintenant (FR) 11-1 (11-12) Led to 6th, remained close up until weakened after 3 out, 6th of 7, 45l behind The Magic Bishop (11-6) at Hexham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Oct.
Blue Shark (FR) 12-1 (11-1) Held up in rear and mistakes, struggling from 9th, soon tailed off, pulled up before 12th, in a race won by The Panama Kid (11-2) at Kelso 2m 6f Novice Handicap Chase (0-135) (4yo+) (3) gs in Oct, 6 ran.
Open de L'Isle (FR) 33-1 (11-2) Tracked winner early, lost place before 3rd, soon pushed along and struggling in rear, 8th of 12, well behind Reindeer Dippin (11-1) at Newcastle 2m hcp hdl 0-135 (3) hvy in Feb.