This race revolves around SAFARI JOURNEY and whether the blinkers work at the second time of asking, because if they do he can follow-up his Ascot canter. Philip Hobbs' horse has plenty of pieces of form that in the past promised much but until his seasonal reappearance he'd been rather a talented rogue, only for the headgear to enable arguably the handicap performance of the season so far as he sauntered clear of Fiendish Flame, himself a winner since. Of course this is tougher off a stone higher mark but he travelled like a horse at least that far ahead of his mark last time and is worth backing to go in again. Dave's Dream could be the type who proves best caught fresh and he clearly has the ability to go close off this rating, so Nicky Henderson's charge is considered the biggest threat ahead of Rivaliste, who may need some cut to perform over a trip he'll find sharp. Keelaghan is a fascinating Irish raider but his trainer has saddled just three winners from 66 runners over fences in Britain during recent years which is off-putting, while De Boitron has it all to do from this rating and Quito Du Tresor will find this tougher than his cosy Stratford success.
Safari Journey (USA) 10-1 (10-8) Held up in rear, headway approaching 6th, soon chasing leaders, led 4 out, soon clear, eased down after last, impressive, won at Ascot 2m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Oct beating Fiendish Flame (11-4) by 12l, 10 ran.
Perce Rock 25-1 (11-10) Held up, mistake 3rd, headway to 6th approaching 5 out, 4th 3 out, ridden 2 out, 3rd and no impression when mistake last, weakened run-in, 7th of 23, 18l behind Battlefront (9-10) at Punchestown 2m hcp chs 0-140 gd in Apr.
Rivaliste (FR) 6-1fav (10-13) Tracked leader pair, blundered 8th, hit 10th, 4th and outpaced when hit 3 out, 6th and beaten last, 7th of 20, 19l behind Copper Bleu (11-1) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov Listed hcp hdl (1) gs in Mar.
Dave's Dream (IRE) 10-1 (11-0) Mid-division, outpaced 13th, in rear when hampered 4 out, 10th of 20, 48l behind Copper Bleu (11-1) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov Listed hcp hdl (1) gs in Mar.
Quito Du Tresor (FR) 13-8fav (11-9) Held up in rear, headway 6th, led 4 out, clear last, easily, won at Stratford 2m 1f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Oct beating Mibleu (11-6) by 19l, 6 ran.
De Boitron (FR) 8-11fav (11-5) Tracked leaders in 3rd, left 2nd at 7th, ridden last, kept on, 3rd of 5, 4 1/2l behind Nelson du Ronceray (10-11) at Perth 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Apr.
Keelaghan (IRE) 11-10fav (10-8) Settled towards rear, progress into 4th approaching 4 out, smooth headway to lead 2 out, big leap at kast, soon ridden to go clear, eased down closing stages, won at Cork 2m hcp chs gd in Oct beating Bachelor Affair (9-10) by 4l, 8 ran.
Pocket Aces (IRE) 33-1 (10-9) Mistakes 2nd and 10th always towards rear, 10th of 17, 44l behind Edgbriar (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gd in Oct.
Grand Lahou (FR) 8-1 (11-4) Led until hit 5th, tracked winner, no impression after 3 out, just held on for 2nd, 2nd of 9, 28l behind Sunday City (11-1) at Huntingdon 2m hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd in Oct.
Tramantano 11-4fav (11-1) Disputed 2nd, outpaced 5 out, hit next, soon ridden and lost place, kept on same pace under pressure from 3 out, no impression, 3rd of 6, 28l behind Stagecoach Pearl (10-11) at Aintree 2m hcp chs 0-145 (2) gs in Oct.
Star of Germany (IRE) 16-1 (11-2) Led to 3rd, weakened approaching 5 out, 7th of 9, well behind Neptune Equester (10-4) at Wetherby 2m 4f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Oct.
Rookery Rebel (IRE) 16-1 (9-7) Towards rear, headway into close 6th when mistake 3 out, ridden and went 3rd after next, no impression from before last and kept on one pace, 3rd of 8, 8l behind Keelaghan (10-8) at Cork 2m hcp chs gd in Oct.