Court By Surprise spoiled his chance by continually jumping right on his chasing bow at Uttoxeter. A repeat of that trait would also cost him ground here though he does still have plenty of scope. HARRY THE VIKING has always looked likely to make a better chaser than hurdler but has still managed a couple of wins over the smaller obstacles this season and will lack nothing in fitness. He gets the vote today as Saint Are was let down by his jumping at Cheltenham last time and Southwell winner Lively Baron will do well to follow up in this much better race under a penalty. Ascot hurdles winner Emmaslegend has the ground in her favour but faces a stiff task on her fencing debut.
Lively Baron (IRE) 1-3fav (11-2) Ridden along from start, tracked leader, went left 9th, hit 12th, challenged from 13th, led next, came well clear from 4 out, very easily, won at Southwell 3m nov chs (4) gd in Nov beating Alfloramoor (11-2) by well, 4 ran.
Noble Witness (IRE) 16-1 (11-7) Tracked leader, lost place 7th, weakened 3 out, tailed off, 10th of 13, well behind Valley View (10-12) at Towcester 2m 3f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Nov.
Court By Surprise (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Led narrowly to 8th, led again next, joined approaching 4 out, driven and headed next, soon outpaced in 3rd, stayed on to press for 2nd flat, no chance with winner, 3rd of 4, 16l behind Golden Chieftain (11-2) at Uttoxeter 3m beg chs (5) gs in Nov.
Harry The Viking 2-11fav (11-2) Hung left most of way, tracked leader, led 2nd, pressed approaching 2 out, ridden before last, stayed on well (no time taken), won at Towcester 3m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Nov beating Legendary Hop (10-5) by 5l, 5 ran.
Master Flight 7-4 (12-0) 2nd of 12, 4l behind Jayjay Valentine (12-0) at Upcott Cross 3m ptp gd in Apr '10.
Saint Are (FR) 7-2 (10-13) Held up in touch in rear, closed 8th, blundered 4 out, ridden after 3 out, no extra last, 5th of 6, 16l behind Join Together (10-13) at Cheltenham 3m nov chs (2) gs in Nov.
Emmaslegend 6-1 (10-11) Took keen hold, chased leaders, went 2nd 5th, led after 3 out, clear when hit next, kept on strongly, easily, won at Ascot 2m 6f mares hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Nov beating Annimation (10-6) by 12l, 11 ran.