Shakalakaboomboom appears to be improving at a rate of knots and has won his last two starts with the minimum of fuss. His latest win at Taunton was over further but he scored over this trip at Kempton in November and is a sound jumper. Just as interesting, however, is DIAMOND BROOK who gets 13lb from Nicky Henderson's gelding and is equally progressive. The six-year-old looks the type that only does enough when pressed and has probably been difficult for the handicapper to assess. Misstree Dancer and Ravethebrave are closely matched on Newbury running, while Pearlysteps' Hereford win will have boosted his confidence. Cootehill may need this after a break, however.
The Giant Bolster 14-1 (11-7) Chased leaders, hit 10th, still well there when fell 12th, in a race won by Time For Rupert (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov chs (2) gs in Nov, 10 ran.
Pearlysteps 5-4fav (10-7) Tracked leaders, went 2nd after 7th, led 9th, not fluent 11th, hard pressed when hit 2 out, driven and stayed on well flat, won at Hereford 3m 1f beg chase (4) sft beating Alderley Rover (11-0) by 2 1/4l, 5 ran.
Ikorodu Road 7-1 (11-12) Made most, unseated rider last, in a race won by Misstree Dancer (11-3) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec, 15 ran.
Shakalakaboomboom (IRE) 2-1fav (11-1) Held up in rear well in touch, smooth headway to track leaders 11th, 2nd 4 out, hit 3 out, led and edged right before last, came clear and jinked right towards finish, won at Taunton 2m 7f nov ltd hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs beating Inside Dealer (10-12) by 3 1/2l, 7 ran.
Vino Griego (FR) 20-1 (11-9) Held up mid-division, headway when hit 8th, soon chased leaders, ridden to lead last, wandered run-in, headed final 50 yards, no extra, 3rd of 14, 2 1/2l behind Regal Approach (10-11) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (4) gs in Nov.
Cootehill (IRE) 8-1 (11-6) Led, not fluent 5th, headed next, chased leader until 9th, stayed in 3rd until outpaced in 4th after 13th, 4th of 5, 27l behind Wishfull Thinking (11-2) at Wincanton 2m 5f nov chs Grade 2 (1) gd in Nov.
Ravethebrave (IRE) 9-1 (11-5) Close up, disputing handy 6th after 7th, headway to chase leaders 4 out, 2nd as field came into view final 110 yards, closed on tiring winner close home, 2nd of 15, 1l behind Misstree Dancer (11-3) at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec.
Misstree Dancer 16-1 (11-3) Always appeared to race handily, 3rd from 12th, in lead final 110 yards, tiring close home, held on, all out, won at Newbury 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec beating Ravethebrave (11-5) by 1l, 15 ran.
Diamond Brook (IRE) 85-40 (11-12) Chased leader, ridden along after 8th, driven before 4 out, soon challenging, led 2 out, looked in control last, driven out to hold on close home, won at Exeter 2m 3f nov hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Nov beating Russian Song (11-0) by nk, 5 ran.