This looks a cracking contest with Albertas Run making another attempt to win it for the third time having gone down by half-a-length to Riverside Theatre last year. Jonjo O'Neill's veteran can run well fresh but he would have preferred a faster surface and may find a few of his younger rivals have improved past him while last year's victor has only had one run this term, in the King George, and was well beaten. Menorah appears to have the beating of Ghizao and For Non Stop on his win in the Peterborough Chase at Kempton but his jumping can be suspect when put under pressure and these fences can be very unforgiving. Champion Court was second in the Jewson over course and distance at last year's Festival and ran a cracker in the King George when finishing ahead of CUE CARD and Riverside Theatre. But he then disappointed in his prep race back at Kempton and we expect Colin Tizzard's stable star to reverse placings over this shorter trip. Second in last year's Arkle, the seven-year-old jumped superbly out in front when proving his stamina in last month's Ascot Chase , though he was facing a battle until Captain Chris tried to take the second-last by its roots. First Lieutenant is another former Festival winner and never seems to run a bad race having finished third in the Hennessy in November and second in the Lexus in December. On that form, he'll be a danger to all but does struggle to get his head in front at the highest level.
Albertas Run (IRE) 11-4 (11-10) With leader, hit 8th, hit 10th, led 4 out, headed before 2 out, weakened before last, 3rd of 8, 20l behind Finian's Rainbow (11-10) at Aintree 2m 4f chs G1 (1) gd in Apr.
Champion Court (IRE) 4-9fav (11-7) Led, hit 10th, not fluent 12th, ridden before 2 out, joined last, headed and not pace of winner close home, 2nd of 3, nk behind Alasi (11-0) at Kempton 2m 4f grd chs (5yo+) (2) gs in Feb.
Cue Card 15-8fav (11-7) Made all, mistake 11th, hard pressed 2 out, driven clear last, redily, won at Ascot 2m 5f chs G1 (1) sft in Feb beating Captain Chris (11-7) by 6l, 6 ran.
First Lieutenant (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders mainly 5th, 4th 3 out, ridden to go 2nd entering straight, kept on under pressure and led briefly late run-in, no extra and headed closing strides, 2nd of 9, hd behind Tidal Bay (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) sft in Dec.
For Non Stop (IRE) 15-8fav (11-6) Tracked leaders on inside, weakened 3 out, last of 5, 28l behind Menorah (11-5) at Kempton 2m 4f Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Ghizao (GER) 12-1 (11-7) Chased leaders, outpaced 3 out, rallied after next, ran on to take 3rd towards finish, 3rd of 6, 8l behind Cue Card (11-7) at Ascot 2m 5f chs G1 (1) sft in Feb.
Menorah (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Mistakes, held up in rear, not fluent 7th, headway to 4th when blundered 10th, no chance with leading trio when mistake 14th, stayed on to poor 3rd and blundered last, 3rd of 8, 21l behind Silviniaco Conti (11-10) at Newbury 3m chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Feb.
Riverside Theatre 6-1 (11-10) Tracked leaderes, outpaced 4 out, weakened next, 6th of 9, 27l behind Long Run (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.