This looks a fascinating clash between Taquin Du Seuil and OSCAR WHISKY. We're coming down on the side of Nicky Henderson's classy eight-year-old who could be a little clumsy over hurdles but is likely to show these fences more respect. He may not have the scope of Jonjo O'Neill's easy Ffos Las winner, who was also a smart hurdler, but the fact that he gets 5lb today is very much in his favour, as is the good ground. The Romford Pele made the well-regarded Balder Success pull out all the stops at Chepstow and is clearly no slouch. He should be winning soon but The Cockney Mackem is often a law unto himself and has almost refused to race on a couple of occasions. He won't be able to give any of his rivals a start here.
Taquin Du Seuil (FR) 4-9fav (11-2) Tracked leading pair, closed travelling well 5 out, went 2nd before next, challenged 3 out, led on bit between last 2, hit last, unextended, won at Ffos Las 2m nov chs (4) hvy in Oct beating Bob Ford (11-2) by 2l, 4 ran.
The Cockney Mackem (IRE) 14-1 (11-7) Held up, headway 6th, mistake 9th, weakened after 3 out, left remote 2nd when fell 2 out, in a race won by Dark Lover (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m nov chs (2) gs in Oct, 6 ran.
Oscar Whisky (IRE) 5-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders, went 2nd before 3rd, ridden before last, soon weakened, 4th of 9, 8l behind Zarkandar (11-7) at Aintree 2m 4f hdl G1 (1) gd in Apr.
The Romford Pele (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Held up last, went 4th after 11th, tracked leading pair 3 out, closing under pressure when went 2nd last, driven and stayed on flat, always held, 2nd of 5, 3/4l behind Balder Succes (11-4) at Chepstow 2m 3f nov chs (2) gd in Oct.