Flying Award is pitched in at the deep end on his chasing debut but a case can be made for the other four facing the starter here. Victor Dartnall's novices usually know their job so it would be no surprise to see Mic's Delight, who had some smart form over hurdles, make his presence felt despite returning from a break. Old Wigmore can improve again on November's C&D win but this may chiefly concern GOLDEN CHIEFTAIN and Penny Max. The latter impressed in a novices' handicap at Newbury last month after showing his inexperience at Plumpton but the former, a real old-fashioned chasing type, should continue to progress over the larger obstacles now he's got his head in front and gets the nod.
Golden Chieftain (IRE) 11-8fav (11-2) Tracked leading pair, challenged between horses before 4 out, led next, drew clear from 2 out, comfortably, won at Uttoxeter 3m beg chs (5) gs in Nov beating Jetnova (11-2) by 15l, 4 ran.
Old Wigmore (IRE) 11-4 (11-0) Made all, propped 2nd, went left 3rd, came clear from 2 out, eased close home, unchallenged, won at Exeter 3m Novice Handicap Chase (0-135) (4yo+) (3) gs in Nov beating Simply Wings (11-2) by 7l, 7 ran.
Penny Max (IRE) 4-1 (11-3) Held up, took keen hold, jumped slightly right at times, headway 2nd, led 8th, stayed on well to draw clear from 2 out, easily, won at Newbury 3m nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Dec beating Wyck Hill (11-7) by 12l, 10 ran.
Flying Award (IRE) 12-1 (10-11) Held up in rear, headway 8th, mistake next, weakened after 3 out, left 4th when hampered next, 4th of 16, 27l behind Thehillofuisneach (11-6) at Uttoxeter 3m hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Dec.
Mic's Delight (IRE) Evensfav (11-6) Led until approaching 3rd, not fluent next, led 5th, pushed along after 9th, ridden and headed approaching 2 out, soon beaten, edged left after last, 2nd of 4, 22l behind Blenheim Brook (11-6) at Perth 3m nov hdl (2) gd in Apr.