This is normally won by a smart novice and it would be no surprise to see all of these back here at The Festival in March. Le Bec, impressive over fences so far, beat SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR by three-quarters-of-a-length over a slightly shorter trip here four weeks ago with Sam Winner back in third. But the runner-up was staying on strongly up the hill and will be fancied to reverse the form today on 3lb better terms. Le Reve is a useful performer when on-song but is usually found wanting when pitched in at this level and has now failed to finish in two of his three chase starts.
Le Bec (FR) 3-1 (11-4) Tracked leader, led soon after 4 out, hard pressed 2 out, ridden before last, held on gamely flat, won at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gd in Nov beating Shutthefrontdoor (11-4) by 3/4l, 6 ran.
Le Reve (IRE) 14-1 (11-6) Held up tracking leaders in 4th, challenged on outside 4 out, pushed along disputing 2 lengths 3rd when bumped and unseated rider 3 out, in a race won by Just A Par (11-2) at Newbury 3m nov chs Grade 2 (1) gs in Nov, 5 ran.
Shutthefrontdoor (IRE) 9-4fav (11-4) Held up in last pair, took closer order halfway, went 2nd 3 out, challenged on inside approaching next, every chance last, ridden and kept on flat, held near finish, 2nd of 6, 3/4l behind Le Bec (11-4) at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gd in Nov.
Sam Winner (FR) 10-1 (10-13) Tracked leaders, headway 3 out, challenged between rivals approaching next, every chance until ridden and one pace in clear 3rd flat, 3rd of 6, 3 1/2l behind Le Bec (11-4) at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gd in Nov.