PICKAMUS gets the vote here over Russian Flag and Bleak House. The selection looks to have everything in his favour as he seemed to win with plenty in hand when he got the better of Approved Force at Huntingdon on Boxing Day and with the ground also to his liking he looks a sound bet to follow that up. Russian Flag is a model of consistency and he has to enter calculations. He chased home Noble Crusader at Ludlow last time out when he idled a little in front, and if he can be produced at the right time here he could run a big race. Bleak House ran well on his chase debut but he subsequently fell at Ayr and he does have a long absence to overcome today. Kanad has a decent strike-rate over hurdles and he has made a bright start to his chasing career, finishing in the money twice. It would not be a surprise to see him again claiming some prize money, but a safer bet looks to be Pickamus who can make it back-to-back successes.
Russian Flag (FR) 7-4fav (11-12) Held up, headway after 9th, led 4 out, mistake 3 out, soon headed, hit last, weakened flat, 2nd of 8, 8l behind Noble Crusader (11-3) at Ludlow 2m hcp chs 0-120 (3) sft in Dec.
Camden George (IRE) 6-1 (11-6) Held up, pushed along after 5 out, weakened from next, 7th of 8, 33l behind Le Roi Rouge (11-3) at Wetherby 2m hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Dec.
Pickamus (FR) 11-4fav (10-13) Led 2nd, clear last, stayed on well, won at Huntingdon 2m 4f nov chs 0-115 (4) sft in Dec beating Approved Force (10-13) by 4 1/2l, 8 ran.
Kanad 11-2 (11-0) In touch, chased winner 4th, ridden and lost 2nd 2 out, weakened approaching last, 3rd of 6, 22l behind Working Title (11-0) at Fakenham 2m nov chs (3) gs in Nov.
Ormello (FR) (11-4) 7th of 17, 18l behind Ocean D'or (11-2) at Clairefontaine(FR) 2m 2f chs in Aug.
Bleak House (IRE) Evensfav (11-0) Jumped right and mistakes, tracked leader, up sides leader when fell 5 out, in a race won by General Stone Hill (11-0) at Ayr 2m 4f beg chase (4) sft in Mar, 4 ran.
De Boitron (FR) 3-1 (10-12) Chased clear leaders, went third 10th, driven and kept on from 3 out, no impression, 3rd of 7, 9l behind Crocodiles Rock (11-9) at Market Rasen 2m 4f hcp chs 0-135 (3) hvy in Nov.
Calculaite 8-1 (11-4) Held up, chased leaders after 5 out, kept on same pace, 3rd of 9, 9l behind Fred Bojangals (10-0) at Musselburgh 2m hcp chs 0-120 (3) gs in Nov.