This may not be as competitive as first appears as Stormyisland Ahead and Notabotheronme are infrequent winners. Merlin's Wish is less exposed but needs more to score off his current mark while Peut Etre Sivola has changed stables again since disappointing at Fontwell in the spring. Royal Chatelier can only improve on his comeback fifth at Wincanton but LOUGHALDER was still heading in the right direction when last seen in April. He's won all three of his previous starts over course and distance and can shrug off an absence to score again.
Royal Chatelier (FR) 10-1 (11-2) Led, narrowly headed 11th, pushed along before lost 2nd 14th, weakened next, tailed off, 5th of 6, well behind Franklin Roosevelt (11-12) at Wincanton 3m 1f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Oct.
Peut Etre Sivola (FR) 3-1fav (11-2) Chased leader until 6th, chased leaders, went right 15th, weakened 17th, no chance when mistake 3 out, tailed off, 8th of 9, well behind Quarl Ego (11-5) at Fontwell 3m 4f hcp ch 0-110 (4) gs in Apr.
Loughalder (IRE) 9-2fav (11-9) Held up towards rear, mistake 9th, headway when hit 5 out, led flat, stayed on well, won at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-95 (5) gs in Apr beating Absolute Shambles (10-2) by 1 1/4l, 13 ran.
Merlin's Wish 12-1 (10-13) Chased winner, not fluent 3rd, lost 2nd 5th, slow and lost place 6th, mistake 8th, blundered 13th, driven in 5th when hit 5 out, went 4th soon after, stayed on from 4 out, went 3rd next, stayed on to 2nd towards finish, no chance with winner, 2nd of 7, 12l behind Jaunty Journey (11-7) at Uttoxeter 3m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy in May.
River D'or (FR) 20-1 (10-0) Held up towards rear, mistake 13th, well held 3 out, stayed on flat, never nearer, 6th of 15, 6l behind Hunters Lodge (11-3) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Oct.
Sandynow (IRE) 9-2 (11-3) Tracked leaders, weakened before 14th, blundered 4 out, soon pulled up, in a race won by Lord Lescribaa (10-12) at Newton Abbot 3m 2f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gf in Jul, 10 ran.
Stormyisland Ahead 16-1 (11-9) Mid-division, chased leaders 5 out, left 3rd approaching next, ridden 3 out, kept on same pace, no impression with front pair, 3rd of 10, 7l behind Michigan Assassin (11-5) at Ffos Las 3m hcp 0-100 (5) gd in Aug.
Elite Beneficial (IRE) 15-2 (11-7) Pulled hard in touch, under pressure 4 out, weakened before 2 out, 6th of 9, 12l behind Quayside Court (10-6) at Towcester 3m hcp chs 0-95 (5) gs in Mar.
Flugzeug 11-2 (11-0) Tracked winner, led briefly 7th, challenged 4 out, pushed along before next, driven before 2 out, soon no chance with winner, kept on for clear 2nd, 2nd of 5, 9l behind Somerby (11-6) at Chepstow 3m cnd hcp chs (0-95) (5) sft in Oct.
Notabotheronme (IRE) 7-2 (11-4) Took keen hold tracking leading trio, jumped slowly 2nd, not fluent and ridden 9th, went 3rd 10th, one pace and no chance with leading duo from 5 out, 3rd of 5, 33l behind Somerby (11-6) at Chepstow 3m cnd hcp chs (0-95) (5) sft in Oct.
Thehorsemaytalk (IRE) 9-1 (10-4) In rear, behind 10th, badly hampered and clambered over 15th, soon pulled up, in a race won by Volio Vincente (9-9) at Newton Abbot 3m 2f cnd hcp chs (0-95) (5) gs in Sep, 10 ran.
Lupita (IRE) 33-1 (10-0) Held up towards rear, headway before 4 out, weakened before 3 out, 6th of 12, 32l behind My Mate Vinnie (11-10) at Towcester 3m hcp chs 0-100 (5) gs in May.