HARRY TOPPER doesn't have an entry in the RSA Chase and may miss Cheltenham altogether but Kim Bailey looks to have a high-class chaser of the future on his hands judged on his two runs to date over the larger obstacles. He beat the well-regarded Rocky Creek over course and distance in October and then stayed on too strongly for subsequent Grade 1 winner Benefficient at Newbury when today's rival Highland Lodge was back in third - a hat-trick beckons. Cappa Bleu may not be the force of old and the once-useful Bensalem lacks a recent run but Hawkes Point is lightly-raced for his age and came good over fences here on New Year's Day - he shouldn't be underestimated.
Bensalem (IRE) 9-2 (11-10) Held up, slightly hampered 2nd, not fluent 7th, headway 10th, hit 12th, hampered next, close 4th when blundered badly 2 out, mistake last, no extra flat, 5th of 15, 8l behind Prince De Beauchene (10-5) at Aintree 3m 1f lstd hcp chs (1) gd in Apr '11.
Cappa Bleu (IRE) 2-1 (11-10) Held up in rear, headway 12th, hampered 4 out, chased winner before 3 out, beaten next, 2nd of 5, 28l behind Across The Bay (11-10) at Carlisle 3m grad ch (2) hvy in Nov.
Harry Topper 3-1 (11-6) In touch, not fluent in places, hampered 4 out, headway after 2 out, stayed on strongly to lead close home, won at Newbury 3m nov chs Grade 2 (1) sft in Nov beating Benefficient (11-9) by 1 1/2l, 6 ran.
Highland Lodge (IRE) 6-5fav (11-8) Led, not fluent early, headed before 8th, led after next, ridden and headed 2 out, weakened flat, 3rd of 5, 20l behind Rocky Creek (11-5) at Warwick 3m nov chs (2) sft in Jan.
Hawkes Point 5-6fav (10-13) Led, narrowly headed 12th, pressed leader, pushed along to slight lead again and edged left from before 4 out, driven before last, hung left flat, stayed on best to assert final 100 yards, won at Exeter 3m nov chs (3) hvy in Jan beating Gullinbursti (10-13) by 2 1/4l, 5 ran.
Pearlysteps 12-1 (10-10) Often jumped right, held up, some headway 12th, weakened 16th, pulled up before 5 out, in a race won by Ikorodu Road (10-8) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs (2) gd in Mar, 10 ran.