This revolves around whether OSCAR WHISKY lasts out the trip. He's proved himself virtually unbeatable at half-a-mile shorter but didn't appear to stay in the World Hurdle in March. That was run at a ferocious pace and he didn't jump with his usual fluency so the hope is that he'll have enough in reserve this time. He has a penalty to carry for a Grade 1 success as does Reve De Sivola for his convincing victory in the Long Walk at Ascot. Crack Away Jack is well held by the selection though the longer trip will certainly suit him but it's a bit of a surprise to see Kauto Stone reverting to hurdles though he did win three times over them in France including a Grade 2.
Oscar Whisky (IRE) 1-5fav (11-6) Made all, drew readily clear between last 2, pushed out flat, unchallenged, won at Cheltenham 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) hvy in Dec beating Crack Away Jack (10-12) by 19l, 3 ran.
Reve de Sivola (FR) 9-2 (11-7) Chased clear leader and clear of rest, closed 7th, led next, good jump 2 out, soon clear, stayed on strongly, eased towards finish, won at Ascot 3m 1f hdl G1 (1) hvy in Dec beating Smad Place (11-7) by 14l, 7 ran.
Lovcen (GER) 10-11fav (11-0) Tracked winner, jumped right, hampered 1st, reminder and lost 2nd after 13th, mistake and weakened 4 out, tailed off, 4th of 6, well behind Same Difference (11-0) at Leicester 2m 7f nov chs (3) gs.
Carruthers 15-8fav (11-5) Led after 1st, soon joined, headed 7th, led again after next, driven 2 out, soon forged clear, stayed on strongly, won at Ffos Las 3m 1f hcp chs 0-140 (3) hvy in Dec beating Benheir (11-4) by 15l, 5 ran.
Crack Away Jack 5-1 (10-12) Disputed 2nd, tracked winner before 3rd, outpaced between last 2, ridden and no chance with winner in clear before last, 2nd of 3, 19l behind Oscar Whisky (11-6) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) hvy in Dec.
Cross Kennon (IRE) 10-1 (11-12) In touch on outside, challenged 8th, driven to lead narrowly after 3 out, ridden and headed before last, kept on same pace flat, 6th of 12, 16l behind At Fishers Cross (10-12) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) hvy in Dec.
Kauto Stone (FR) 10-1 (11-10) Held up behind in touch, struggling 12th, soon weakened, behind when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Long Run (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec, 9 ran.
Knockara Beau (IRE) 11-10fav (11-9) Chased leader until 3rd, ridden along after 6th, weakened to 3rd when mistake 2 out (normal 4 out), 3rd of 6, 24l behind Douglas Julian (10-5) at Kelso 2m 7f hcp chs (2) sft in Dec.
Walkon (FR) 7-2fav (10-12) Mid-division in touch on inside, headway on outside 4 out, joined winner after next, kept on and every chance until ridden and one pace approaching last, no impression flat, 2nd of 14, 11l behind Unioniste (9-9) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) hvy in Dec.
Kentford Grey Lady 10-11fav (11-0) Took keen hold, held up last, headway approaching 2 out, ridden and went 3rd between last 2, driven and no impression approaching last, kept on same pace flat, 3rd of 5, 2 3/4l behind Une Artiste (11-8) at Sandown 2m 4f mrs lst hdl (1) hvy.