Sire De Grugy has outstanding credentials having won the Tingle Creek, the Desert Orchid and the Clarence House Chase since narrowly failing to give Kid Cassidy 11lb here in November. He should reverse that form here and again beat third Special Tiara but there is a nagging doubt that he doesn't really like Cheltenham's undulations and he's been easy to back. CAPTAIN CONAN was more than seven lengths behind Sire De Grugy at Sandown in December but was making his seasonal reappearance that day and ran well until lack of condition told. A better guide may be the novice chase he won here early last season when he stayed on too strongly for Gary Moore's stable star and he gets the vote to come out best today. Arvika Ligeonniere has smart form in Ireland but was a leading fancy for last year's Arkle Trophy and weakened quickly on the final circuit before being pulled up. Baily Green finished second in that race and has each-way claims if back to his best but former winner Sizing Europe doesn't look the force of old and they may go too quickly for Wishfull Thinking. The others have plenty to prove on this season's form if they are to figure.
Arvika Ligeonniere (FR) 2-7fav (11-12) Chased leader in 2nd, led 3 out, clear entering straight, easily, won at Punchestown 2m chs G2 (1) hvy in Feb beating Toner D'Oudairies (11-7) by 14l, 4 ran.
Baily Green (IRE) 6-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, jumped right 1st, 2nd halfway, 3rd 2 out, ridden early straight and no extra approaching last, 8th of 15, 15l behind Never Enough Time (10-11) at Leopardstown 2m hcp hdl 0-140 in Feb.
Captain Conan (FR) 7-4fav (11-7) Tracked leader until 8th, went 2nd again before 3 out, upsides 3 out, led soon after, ridden and headed before last, no chance with winner, no extra and lost 2nd final 100 yards, 3rd of 9, 7l behind Sire De Grugy (11-7) at Sandown 2m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Dec.
Hinterland (FR) 13-2 (11-2) Held up in rear, not fluent 3rd steady headway 9th, tracking leading pair when hit 3 out, 2nd soon after 2 out, led between last 2, hung left under strong pressure flat, always holding on, won at Sandown 2m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) gd in Dec beating Grandouet (11-2) by nk, 6 ran.
Kid Cassidy (IRE) 9-2 (11-12) Held up in rear, not fluent 3 out, soon no extra, bad mistake last, last of 7, well behind Benefficient (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f chs G1 (1) sft in Dec.
Module (FR) 11-8fav (11-2) Led, ridden and narrowly headed last, rallied gamely under pressure to lead again final 100 yards, won at Newbury 2m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) hvy in Feb beating Dodging Bullets (11-5) by nk, 4 ran.
Sire De Grugy (FR) 5-4fav (11-7) Sometimes jumped left, held up in rear but in touch, steady headway to 4th approaching 8th, joined leaders on bit 3 out, led well before 2 out, went left 2 out, soon drew clear, went left again last, very easily, won at Ascot 2m 1f chs G1 (1) hvy in Jan beating Hidden Cyclone (11-7) by 11l, 7 ran.
Sizing Europe (IRE) 11-4 (11-12) Led, soon clear, a little slow 6 out and reduced lead, slight mistake and reminder next, headed before straight, no extra in 4th at last, 4th of 7, 17l behind Benefficient (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f chs G1 (1) sft in Dec.
Somersby (IRE) 11-4 (11-7) Held up in last pair in touch, screwed slithered on landing and unseated rider 5th, in a race won by Sire De Grugy (11-7) at Ascot 2m 1f chs G1 (1) hvy in Jan, 7 ran.
Special Tiara 10-1 (11-12) Led, headed 3 out, ridden next, no extra in 3rd before last, 4th last, kept on one pace run-in and just held for 3rd at line, last of 4, 29l behind Arvika Ligeonniere (11-12) at Punchestown 2m chs G2 (1) hvy in Feb.
Wishfull Thinking 9-1 (11-12) Held up mid-division, headway on outside 14th, went 2nd and challenged 2 out, led narrowly last, soon ridden, stayed on well towards finish, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) hvy in Jan beating Double Ross (11-4) by 1 3/4l, 10 ran.