Taquin Du Seuil beat OSCAR WHISKY by a neck here in November and while Nicky Henderson's charge, who has since got the better of the smart Wonderful Charm on this course, is now 5lb worse off, he should turn the tables on his younger rival with experience under his belt. Timesawastin has already been beaten in a couple of handicaps and his future lies in that sphere but Close House was still in contention and apparently going well when falling behind the selection on his chasing bow and he could make life interesting getting 7lb if that mishap hasn't affected his confidence.
Oscar Whisky (IRE) 4-5fav (11-0) Made all, often went slightly right, mistake 4 out, pecked 3 out, ridden when pressed before last, kept on flat and always just holding rival, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov chs (2) gd in Dec beating Wonderful Charm (11-8) by 1/2l, 5 ran.
Taquin Du Seuil (FR) 9-4fav (11-2) Took keen hold tracking leading trio, not fluent 7th (water), blundered and stumbled badly 9th, given time to recover, stayed on from 2 out, went 3rd flat, no chance with leading duo, 3rd of 6, 8l behind Hinterland (11-2) at Sandown 2m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) gd in Dec.
Close House 14-1 (11-0) Raced in 3rd, not fluent 2nd, closing when fell 4 out, in a race won by Oscar Whisky (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov chs (2) gd in Dec, 5 ran.
Timesawastin (IRE) 11-2 (11-6) Led headed 3 out, soon ridden, kept on under pressure flat, held towards finish, 2nd of 9, 1 1/2l behind Renard (11-10) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec.