Dark Ben has had very little racing over the past few years but ran well for a long way on his return to action at Haydock in November and will strip fitter here. The handicapper has given him a chance but Prince Du Beury is still probably a few pounds high on what he has achieved over fences to date. Quel Bruere looks capable of better but Silver Bay has never won over fences and Work Boy is 7lb higher than for his only success at Market Rasen in March. La Pantera Rose was on a hat-trick when unshipping Barry Keniry at the last at Wetherby in October, a race won by PALOS CONTI. He wouldn't have beaten the winner, who was gaining his first success over fences having won his previous two starts over hurdles. Tim Pitt's charge can go in again here despite a 12lb rise in the weights.
Palos Conti (FR) 13-2 (11-0) Held up in rear and keen, headway approaching 10th, went 2nd on bit approaching 4 out, led approaching 2 out, in command going to last when left clear, easily, won at Wetherby 3m 1f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Oct beating Timpo (11-0) by 22l, 10 ran.
Dark Ben (FR) 9-2 (10-1) Led to 2nd, tracked leader, ridden and weakened from 2 out, 4th of 8, 23l behind King Fontaine (11-2) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-135 (3) gs in Nov.
Prince du Beury (FR) 14-1 (11-6) Mid-division on inside, chased leaders 4 out, soon ridden, kept on same pace under pressure from next, 5th and no impression when hit last, took 4th flat, 4th of 18, 6l behind Rimini (11-5) at Newbury 2m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Dec.
Quel Bruere (FR) 25-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, mistake 1st, in touch in rear when fell 10th, in a race won by Mud Monkey (10-13) at Huntingdon 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gs in Nov, 12 ran.
Work Boy 12-1 (11-1) Chased leaders, reminders approaching 12th, in 5th when mistake 4 out, weakened next, 7th of 14, 26l behind Star Beat (10-11) at Catterick 3m 1f hcp chs 0-120 (3) gd in Dec.
La Pantera Rosa (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) With leaders and keen, led after 5th, headed 7th, led again 8th, headed approaching 11th, weakened 4 out, 5th of 6, 23l behind Le Platino (11-9) at Wetherby 2m 6f hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Nov.
Silver Bay 16-1 (11-0) In rear, never dangerous, pulled up before 18th, in a race won by Incentivise (11-6) at Bangor 3m 6f hcp chs 0-120 (3) gs in Dec, 11 ran.
Crack At Dawn (IRE) 4-1 (12-0) (cp) (tt) outpcd 13; kpt on wl 2 out, 3rd of 7, 8l behind Busy Times (12-0) at Black Forest Lodge 3m ptp gd in Nov.