Hat-trick seekers First Feerie, Oscar Glory and Present Gale must be high on any shortlist, however a chance is taken on OPENIDE. Brendan Duke's stable favourite was a winner at Uttoxeter in July in first-time cheek-pieces. A hold-up tactic was tried that day and it has been employed since, although perhaps he was given too much to do last time out at Perth. His late headway was eye-catching however and at this more suitable track and with the cheek-pieces swapped for blinkers, a big run is expected. Galant Nuit is not one to take lightly on his return, a comment that also applies to Gaora Lane who has some solid handicap form to his name including a second place in this contest last year. Ahead of him was Mister Apple's who stays all day; his mark of 116 looks high enough however given his win in this race last year came off 101. Kells Castle is another who is up in the weights but he may not be done with yet, a comment that also applies to Oscar Glory who was impressive over hurdles last time out at Perth. Irish challenger See Double You's best form has arguably been on a softer surface so he might need some rain, a comment that doesn't apply to Skipper's Lad and Runshan who are both fine on a quick surface. An open heat but Openide is preferred.
Galant Nuit (FR) 12-1 (11-2) Held up well in rear, hit 5th, jumped right next, headway when hampered 14th, ridden 4 out, went 2nd approaching last, no chance with winner, flattered by proximity, 2nd of 12, 3 1/2l behind Aleron (11-0) at Aintree 3m 1f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in May.
Gaora Lane (IRE) 6-1 (10-10) Tracking leader when blundered 2nd, towards rear, ridden in 5th when hit 4 out, soon weakened, 5th of 12, 28l behind Boychuk (11-3) at Cheltenham 3m 1f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gd in Apr.
Prestbury Knight 12-1 (10-9) Held up, blundered 3 out when weakening, 7th of 10, 14l behind Ellerslie George (10-10) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gf in Sep.
First Feerie (FR) 5-2 (10-7) Held up, hampered 10th, outpaced 12th, 20 lengths down and 4th 3 out, headway approaching last, ran on strongly to lead towards finish, won at Fakenham 2m 5f noc chs (3) gd in Oct '08 beating Creinch (11-0) by 1l, 5 ran.
Present Gale (IRE) 10-11fav (11-7) Held up, mistake 3rd, headway after 4 out, challenged 2 out, led last, ridden and stayed on well flat, won at Worcester 2m 7f hcp chs 0-120 (3) gs in Aug beating Bantry Bere (11-11) by 2 1/4l, 6 ran.
Mister Apple's (FR) 6-1 (11-4) Chased winner, ridden approaching 2 out, driven and lost 2nd between last 2, weakened last, 3rd of 10, 9l behind Spare Change (10-3) at Newton Abbot 3m 2f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Jul.
Kells Castle 6-1 (10-11) Prominent, bad mistake 8th and pulled up soon after, in a race won by O'Muircheartaigh (11-3) at Gowran Park 3m hcp chs 0-123 gf, 16 ran.
Quarry Town (IRE) 12-1 (11-6) Chased leaders to 5th, not fluent 7th, mistake 12th, weakened next, 9th of 15, 39l behind War Of The World (11-12) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gf in Sep.
Oscar Glory (IRE) 7-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, headway to chase leaders 3 out, led 2 out, clear approaching last, eased towards finish, won at Perth 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) gd in Sep beating The Great Alfie (11-3) by 8l, 10 ran.
Openide 15-2 (11-12) Held up towards rear, pushed along before 13th, stayed in to modest 4th 2 out, never any chance, 4th of 10, 22l behind Shammy Buskins (10-11) at Plumpton 3m 2f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gf in Sep.
Dune Raider (USA) 12-1 (11-11) Held up in rear, weakened approaching 4 out, pulled up after next, in a race won by Thai Vango (10-12) at Market Rasen 2m 6f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Sep, 10 ran.
Bafana Boy 17-2 (10-10) Always towards rear, behind 9th, tailed off 11th, pulled up before last, in a race won by War Of The World (11-12) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gf in Sep, 15 ran.
Hautclan (FR) 66-1 (10-11) Pushed along throughout, chased leaders, mistake 6th, ridden 9th, weakened into moderate 5th before 2 out, blundered last, 4th of 10, well behind Spare Change (10-3) at Newton Abbot 3m 2f hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Jul.
See Double You (IRE) 6-1 (10-9) Trotted before vet at start, towards rear, pulled up before 6th, in a race won by O'Muircheartaigh (11-3) at Gowran Park 3m hcp chs 0-123 gf, 16 ran.
River Indus 12-1 (10-7) Led, not fluent 9th, headed 19th, weakened 2 out, 6th of 10, 19l behind Chiaro (11-12) at Hereford 3m 7f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Mar.
Skipper's Lad (IRE) 5-1 (11-6) Chased leaders, not fluent 12th, led after 3 out, stayed on under pressure flat, won at Uttoxeter 3m hcp chs 0-105 (4) gf beating Runshan (11-7) by 1l, 8 ran.
Runshan (IRE) 13-2 (11-7) Led, headed narrowly after 3 out, still every chance last, held towards finish, 2nd of 8, 1l behind Skipper's Lad (11-6) at Uttoxeter 3m hcp chs 0-105 (4) gf.
Keltic Lord 25-1 (10-10) Chased leaders, pushed along 11th, struggling when hit 14th, well behind when mistake 4 out, tailed off, 6th of 10, well behind Shammy Buskins (10-11) at Plumpton 3m 2f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gf in Sep.