There's no doubt that Battle Group has the ability to win a race like this but he has proved very expensive to follow. Good ground could be a problem for top weight Take The Breeze, while Divers appears to be going backwards again and Zitenka also appears to have lost his way. Criqtonic should be winning soon, however, judged on his fourth at Ascot and Midnight Sail has been knocking on the door. EASTER METEOR has yet to finish out of the first three over fences and his second to Nadiya De La Vega at Cheltenham last month was a step up on last season's efforts. He looks the one to beat though Niceonefrankie looked to be on the way back at Kempton and could play a part.
Take The Breeze (FR) 7-1 (10-12) Held up in touch, chased leaders 5 out, outpaced next, 4th and beaten when hit 3 out, lost moderate 4th towards finish, 5th of 11, 29l behind According To Pete (11-2) at Haydock 3m hcp chs G2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Divers (FR) 22-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, mistake 3rd, hit 8th and ridden along, well behind 11th, tailed off, 17th of 20, well behind Nadiya De La Vega (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct.
Easter Meteor 12-1 (10-9) Led 2nd, blundered 8th, headed 3 out, led again before next, headed flat, held towards finish, 2nd of 20, 2 1/2l behind Nadiya De La Vega (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct.
Zitenka (IRE) 33-1 (11-6) Close up, lost place before 10th, weakened from 5 out, 8th of 11, 39l behind Quartz De Thaix (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Nov.
Cootehill (IRE) 6-1 (11-12) Chased leader until 3rd, chased leading pair until slow and dropped to rear 7th, left 4th at 12th, outpaced 4 out, plugged on flat, went 3d flat until post, 4th of 6, 27l behind Rob Conti (10-12) at Sandown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gs in Nov.
Criqtonic (FR) 4-1fav (10-10) Held up in 7th, headway to 4th after 6th, went 2nd 3 out, weakened bypassing omitted 2 out, 4th of 12, 7l behind Gus Macrae (9-12) at Ascot 2m 1f listed hcp chs (1) gs in Nov.
Battle Group 10-1 (11-8) Held up towards rear, headway before 12th, weakened before 2 out, 5th of 11, 17l behind Quartz De Thaix (11-12) at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Nov.
Niceonefrankie 5-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd and not fluent 7th, ridden before 2 out, weakened before last, 3rd of 6, 14l behind Current Event (11-1) at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Nov.
Midnight Sail 11-8fav (11-12) Tracked leader, led 6th, ridden 3 out, headed near finish, 2nd of 4, 1/2l behind Mister Hyde (11-9) at Market Rasen 2m 6f hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Nov.