The usual high-quality renewal with the likelihood that many of these will be plying their trade outside of handicap company for the most part this term. GRANDS CRUS is not likely to offer too much in the way of value but he remains the most likely winner on the best of his form last term when developing into a most imposing novice chaser. He did disappoint rather at the Festival meeting but other efforts were right out of the top drawer and the family has enjoyed a terrific record in this race down the years. David Pipe seems certain to have him primed for this first assignment of the new campaign. For those seeking a value each-way alternative, Triolo D'Alene makes plenty of appeal off his featherweight with Barry Geraghty booked. He was also below par at the Festival back in March but has been given a lengthy break by the Henderson team and looks to have been prepared with this contest in mind. It is obviously impossible to ignore the claims of last season's most improved horse in training, Hunt Ball, whilst Al Ferof, despite his fair share of weight, looks sure to improve again this term and is the choice of Ruby Walsh from the Nicholls trio.
Poquelin (FR) 20-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, steady headway from 15th, chased leaders bypasing omitted 2 out, soon ridden, disputing well held 3rd before last, not fluent last, no extra in 4th flat, 4th of 14, 16l behind Roberto Goldback (10-10) at Ascot 3m Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs.
Al Ferof (FR) 6-5fav (11-4) Led after 1st, headed after 8th, led again 11th, ridden and headed when not fluent 3 out, well held by leading pair after next, 3rd of 5, 12l behind Menorah (11-4) at Aintree 2m 4f nov chs G1 (1) gs in Apr.
Calgary Bay (IRE) 33-1 (11-6) Mid-division on outside, switched inside and headway 16th (water), lost place 21st (bechers brook), behind when blundered 3 out, 14th of 40, well behind Neptune Collonges (11-6) at Aintree 4m 4f Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (7yo+) (1) gd in Apr.
Hunt Ball (IRE) 6-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders, hit 12th, went 2nd 14th, ridden and outpaced 2 out, 4 lengths down last, soon lost 2nd, kept on flat, 3rd of 11, 3 1/2l behind Follow The Plan (11-7) at Aintree 3m 1f Grade 1 chs (1) gs in Apr.
Grands Crus (FR) 6-5fav (11-4) Held up in last trio in touch, steady headway to track leaders 16th, challenged between rivals 3 out, outpaced before next, soon ridden, one pace approaching last, no impression when lost 3rd flat, 4th of 9, 18l behind Bobs Worth (11-4) at Cheltenham 3m nov chs G1 (1) gd in Mar.
Quantitativeeasing (IRE) 5-1 (11-10) Waited with, slight mistake 9th, closer in 5th 4 out, soon struggling, kept on same pace, 5th of 8, 27l behind China Rock (11-10) at Punchestown 3m 1f chs G1 (1) hvy in Apr.
Aerial (FR) 15-8 (11-3) With leader from 1st, hit 4th, led 13th, headed narrowly after 3 out, stayed with every chance until no extra final 100 yards, 2nd of 5, 4 1/2l behind Hector's Choice (11-1) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G2 (1) gs in Apr.
Tanks For That (IRE) 9-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders, outpaced before 3 out, weakened next, behind when pulled up before last, in a race won by Edgardo Sol (11-0) at Aintree 2m hcp chs G3 (1) gs in Apr, 13 ran.
Forpadydeplasterer (IRE) 5-1 (11-3) Tracked leaders, ridden in 4th entering straight, went 2nd after 2 out, no impression on winner from last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 6, 8l behind Sizing Europe (11-10) at Gowran Park 2m 4f chs G2 (1) gd in Oct.
Nadiya De La Vega (FR) 10-1 (11-2) Always prominent, challenged 2 out, edged left and led flat, ran on well, won at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct beating Easter Meteor (10-9) by 2 1/2l, 20 ran.
Micheal Flips (IRE) 4-1fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 6th, pushed along and blundered 3 out, weakened soon after, 5th of 12, 9l behind Gus Macrae (9-12) at Ascot 2m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs.
Walkon (FR) 16-1 (11-2) Mid-division, headway before 19th, weakened before 22nd, pulled up before next, in a race won by Merigo (10-2) at Ayr 4m hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Apr, 24 ran.
The Disengager (IRE) 17-2 (11-0) Made all, pressed last, held on well towards finish, driven out, won at Market Rasen 2m 6f listed hcp chs (1) gd in Sep beating Bobowen (10-10) by 3/4l, 16 ran.
Divers (FR) 22-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, mistake 3rd, hit 8th and ridden along, well behind 11th, tailed off, 17th of 20, well behind Nadiya De La Vega (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct.
Triolo D'alene (FR) 9-2fav (11-0) Chased leaders, closed from 7th, led 3 out, soon ridden and hung right, headed 2 out, no impression and stayed on same pace flat, 2nd of 15, 8l behind Zitenka (10-8) at Market Rasen 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs in May.
Kingsmere 16-1 (11-11) Tracked leaders, not fluent 1st, went 2nd after next, led after 3 out, pressed when fell 2 out, in a race won by Carlito Brigante (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov chs (2) gs in Oct, 7 ran.
Casey Top (IRE) 12-1 (11-7) Led early, headed from 3rd, remained prominent, moderate 3rd approaching 4 out, soon no extra, tailed off, 11th of 18, well behind Faltering Fullback (9-12) at Listowel 3m hcp chs hvy in Sep.
Finger Onthe Pulse (IRE) 28-1 (10-7) Led until 2nd, tracked leader, led 3 out, headed before next, switched right flat, stayed on same pace, 3rd of 20, 6l behind Nadiya De La Vega (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct.
Questions Answered (IRE) 5-1fav (10-11) Mid-division, headway into 6th 4 out, ridden into 3rd entering straight, challenged 2 out, no impression winner and disputed 2nd before last, 3rd close home, 3rd of 14, 7l behind Raz De Maree (10-4) at Limerick 3m hcp chs sft in Oct.
Gilbarry (IRE) 33-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, never on terms, no impression 3 out, 9th of 20, 29l behind Nadiya De La Vega (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct.