Both Itoldyou and West Cork Flash unseated on their latest starts. The former remains 6lb higher than when scoring at Plumpton in December, but the latter was still in contention at the last and can figure with a clear round. Zhukov scored over track and trip off today's mark at the end of last year and Venetian Lad also has claims on his latest second at Plumpton. KINGCORA started favourite in a higher grade chase at Ascot last time and wasn't beaten far when fourth to Ballinvarrig. That's the best recent form on offer and a repeat should see him off the mark over fences.
Kingcora (FR) 15-8fav (10-10) Held up in touch, headway to track leaders 7th, not fluent 10th, disputing close 2nd when blundered badly and nearly unseated rider 4 out, 2nd next, ridden to lead and dived at 2 out, driven soon after, headed run in and dropped to 3rd, lost 3rd post, 4th of 7, 2 3/4l behind Ballinvarrig (11-9) at Ascot 2m 3f hcp chs 0-125 (3) hvy in Jan.
Venetian Lad 16-1 (10-13) Tracked leaders in 4th, went 3rd 9th, stayed on to 2nd 2 out, no chance with winner, 2nd of 7, 7l behind Beforeall (11-1) at Plumpton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gs in Nov.
Topaze Collonges (FR) 17-2 (11-9) Chased leaders, pushed along before 7th, dropped to 5th next, weakened 10th, behind when blundered next, tailed off, 7th of 9, 31l behind Free World (11-0) at Warwick 2m 4f hcp chs 0-105 (4) sft in Dec.
Itoldyou (IRE) 4-1 (11-3) Close up in rear when hit and fell 7th, in a race won by Mistral Reine (11-4) at Fakenham 2m 7f nov hcp 0-115 (4) hvy, 5 ran.
West Cork Flash (IRE) 10-1 (11-7) Chased leader, led 4th, narrowly headed 3 out, led again narrowly 2 out, slight lead when blundered and unseated rider last, in a race won by Adept Approach (11-9) at Fontwell 3m 2f nov hts chs (6) gd in May, 9 ran.
Double Chocolate 7-1 (11-12) Led until 3rd, led after 5th, headed approaching 4 out, soon outpaced, stayed on to take 3rd flat, no impression, 3rd of 9, 15l behind Fitandproperjob (10-12) at Leicester 2m 4f cond hcp chs (5) sft in Jan.
Zhukov (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) Mid-division, not much room 2nd, headway 8th, hit 9th, not fluent 10th, outpaced before 4 out, soon weakened, 5th of 9, 27l behind Fitandproperjob (10-12) at Leicester 2m 4f cond hcp chs (5) sft in Jan.