BENVOLIO couldn't get to grips with Oscar Whisky in a Grade 1 contest at Sandown last time but had been progressing well before that. Paul Nicholls' charge can add to his earlier victories at Newbury and Haydock by taking this. Via Sundown also made a good start over fences when landing a double at Lingfield at the end of last year. Below par last time, he still looks the main threat to the selection. Lamb Or Cod was beaten a long way on his chasing bow at Wincanton but should finish ahead of the remaining pair with that experience under his belt.
Benvolio (IRE) 5-1 (11-4) Led, often niggled along, headed 8th, not fluent 11th or 13th, ridden after 4 out, last and one pace next, weakening when jumped left and mistake last, last of 3, 42l behind Oscar Whisky (11-4) at Sandown 2m 4f nov chs G1 (1) hvy.
Via Sundown (FR) 6-1 (11-8) Held up in last, not fluent 10th, closed 12th, outpaced 14th, hit 4 out, weakened next, last of 4, 38l behind Corrin Wood (11-8) at Warwick 3m nov chs (2) hvy in Jan.
Lamb Or Cod (IRE) 11-4 (10-13) Jumped left, held up, mistake 6th, headway 10th, pushed along 5 out, outpaced when mistake 3 out, left 2nd 2 out, 2nd of 5, 19l behind Ardkilly Witness (10-13) at Wincanton 2m 5f nov chs (3) hvy in Dec.
Niceboy (IRE) 200-1 (10-9) Last pair, reminders when ran wide on stable bend, tailed off, 13th of 14, well behind Zulu Oscar (11-2) at Kempton 2m n h flat (4) std.
Shays River (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) In touch in mid-division, lost place before 5th, well behind 3 out, pulled up before last, in a race won by Bodega (11-2) at Ludlow 2m mdn hdl (4) hvy, 13 ran.