ZARKANDAR was beaten almost seven lengths behind Rock On Ruby in last season's Champion Hurdle but made an impressive return to action when conceding weight all round in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton. Still only a five-year-old, he may well have improved over the summer and can take his revenge on Harry Fry's stable star, who is conceding 4lb here and hasn't run since April being a late withdrawal from the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle on account of the heavy ground. He will be a force to be reckoned with again this term but may just need this. Grandouet also returns from a break and wasn't quite the equal of the selection as a four-year-old. However, he beat Overturn in this 12 months ago and that is smart form. The others have a mountain to climb at the weights against the big three in this.
Grandouet (FR) 5-2fav (11-4) Tracked leaders in 4th, switched outside and headway 2 out, challenged going well last, led flat, ridden clear final 100 yards, won at Cheltenham 2m 1f hdl G2 (1) gd in Dec '11 beating Overturn (11-8) by 4l, 8 ran.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 5-2 (11-7) Led, ridden and joined 2 out, headed approaching last, no extra towards finish, 3rd of 5, 5l behind Oscar Whisky (11-7) at Aintree 2m 4f hdl G1 (1) gd in Apr.
Zarkandar (IRE) 10-3 (11-10) Pressed leader, led 2 out, shaken up and headed last, soon led again, driven flat, held on, won at Wincanton 2m Ltd hcp hdl (1) gs in Nov beating Prospect Wells (10-7) by nk, 7 ran.
Mad Moose (IRE) 33-1 (11-10) Held up towards rear, blundered badly 4th, never dangerous, 12th of 16, well behind Trustan Times (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) sft in Nov.
Minella Theatre (IRE) 16-1 (10-0) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 8th, lost place before 14th (foinavon), tailed off 3 out, soon pulled up, in a race won by Hello Bud (10-0) at Aintree 3m 2f Listed hcp chs (1) hvy, 16 ran.
One Cool Shabra (IRE) 12-1 (10-6) Led, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, no extra in 3rd after 2 out, kept on one pace, 3rd of 5, 11l behind Midnight Game (11-2) at Fairyhouse 2m hdl sft.
Red Riverman 33-1 (11-0) Held up in last trio, some headway 7th, struggling before next, never involved, 5th of 9, 16l behind Wonderful Charm (11-7) at Chepstow 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Oct.