BRAVE SPARTACUS has been a revelation since turning to front-running and would have been chasing a five-timer but for falling at Sedgefield in December. His accurate jumping has had his rivals struggling and though up a massive 18lb since his last victory doesn't appear to have stopped making progress and can defy the extra burden. Shangani also looked suited by making all at Sandown and he's been hit with a 9lb rise though that was only his fourth start over fences and there's more to come. Simonside, three times a winner over hurdles, has finished runner-up in small fields on his last two starts over fences but has jumped well enough and can make his mark from this spot in the handicap. Arctic Ben generally competes at a higher level though he's out of form at present but the consistent Lease Lend is just 1lb higher than when landing a better race than this a year ago at Wetherby.
Lease Lend 5-1 (11-1) In rear, headway before 4 out, went 3rd 3 out, kept on from last, 3rd of 10, 7l behind Cloudy Too (10-10) at Wetherby 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft.
Brave Spartacus (IRE) 2-5fav (11-9) Made all, clear from 3 out, eased after last, won at Catterick 2m nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Jan beating Hoare Abbey (11-7) by 22l, 5 ran.
Shangani (USA) 6-5fav (11-12) Made virtually all, driven when challenged 3 out, ran on well, won at Sandown 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) hvy beating Olympian Boy (10-13) by 7l, 7 ran.
Mr Syntax (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Held up in touch, headway before 2 out, kept on same pace from last, 3rd of 6, 1 3/4l behind Kings Grey (11-12) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Nov.
The Thirsty Bricky (IRE) 50-1 (10-13) Held up mid-division, ridden and weakened before 3 out, fell 2 out, in a race won by Harvey's Hope (11-9) at Doncaster 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Jan, 19 ran.
Arctic Ben (IRE) 7-2 (10-12) With leaders, effort 4 out, weakened 2 out, 5th of 8, 41l behind Desert Cry (11-6) at Haydock 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Dec.
Simonside 6-4fav (11-11) Led, headed after 2nd, tracked leader, led before last, headed last, kept on and held run-in, 2nd of 4, 3 1/2l behind Schinken Otto (10-4) at Sedgefield 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) hvy in Jan.
French Ties (IRE) 25-1 (11-8) Held up behind on inside, headway 4 out, outpaced before next, soon weakened, tailed off, 7th of 12, well behind Plein Pouvoir (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 5f cond hcp chs (4yo+) (3) sft in Dec.
Diamond Frontier (IRE) 14-1 (11-2) Led, headed briefly before 8th, headed before 2 out, ridden after last, kept on, 2nd of 8, 3 1/2l behind Kandari (11-12) at Catterick 2m 3f hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft.