Vino Griego posted one of his better efforts when winning a three-runner affair on fast ground at Sandown last month but today's surface is more likely to suit KATENKO. Venetia Williams' charge has done all of his winning in bottomless ground including at Sandown and Cheltenham at this time last year and he gets the nod. Chance du Roy bounced back to form with a victory in the Becher at Aintree last month and has leading claims on that and Sydney Paget cannot be easily ruled out on the evidence of his earlier win over course and distance. Merry King and Vintage Star ran well in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow last time but recent winners Night Alliance and Wychwoods Brook will need to dig deeper having both taken a big hike in the weights.
Vino Griego (FR) 9-1 (11-7) Not flent 1st, held up tracking leading pair, went 2nd 13th until 17th, went 2nd again 4 out, travelling best approaching next, closing when mistake 2 out, rallied to challenge last, led soon after and quckened clear, driven out, won at Sandown 3m lst chs (1) gd in Dec beating Rolling Aces (11-11) by 7l, 3 ran.
Katenko (FR) 11-4 (11-6) Prominent, went 2nd 6th, hit 9th, 12th and 13th, no extra 2 out, weakened into 4th before last, 4th of 6, 41l behind Unioniste (11-6) at Aintree 3m 1f lst chs (1) gs in Dec.
The Minack (IRE) 7-2fav (11-10) Held up towards rear, mistake 3rd, slightly hampered 9th, steady headway approaching 11th, staying on in 5th when fell 14th, in a race won by Massini's Maguire (10-13) at Ascot 3m hcp chs Listed (1) gs in Feb '12, 12 ran.
Chance du Roy (FR) 14-1 (10-6) Held up in mid-division, steady headway 11th, not flent 14th (foinavon), went 2nd before 2 out, led approaching last, 3 lengths clear before elbow, pressed towards finish, pulled out enough close home, won at Aintree 3m 2f hcp chs G3 (1) sft in Dec beating Baby Run (10-7) by 1l, 22 ran.
Sydney Paget (IRE) 5-2fav (11-2) Led, headed 4 out, pulled up 2 out, in a race won by Cloudy Too (11-0) at Wetherby 3m 1f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec, 8 ran.
Vintage Star (IRE) 10-1 (10-2) Mid-division, headway 6th, went 2nd 13th, hit 16th, led 5 out, headed 3 out, no extra flat, 6th of 20, 14l behind Mountainous (10-0) at Chepstow 3m 5f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Merry King (IRE) 9-1 (10-3) Held up towards rear, mid-division from 6th, closed 14th, ridden 4 out, no extra last, 5th of 20, 12l behind Mountainous (10-0) at Chepstow 3m 5f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Night Alliance (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) Mid-division, headway 6 out, chased leader next, every chance 3 out, led approaching next, drew clear last, stayed on strongly, won at Haydock 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Dec beating Loch Ba (11-4) by 11l, 12 ran.
Wychwoods Brook 4-1 (11-12) In touch main group, mistake 7th, headway after 4 out, went 2nd before next, soon challenged, led before last, stayed on well to go clear flat, won at Lingfield 2m 4f hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec beating Henry King (11-12) by 10l, 10 ran.
Valoroso 9-2 (10-11) Mistakes, took keen hold, tracked leaders, blundered 10th, hit 14th, went 3rd before 3 out, hung right and went 2nd before next until 2 out, rallied to 2nd last, led and hung right 100 yards out, headed final strides, 2nd of 9, hd behind Ma Filleule (11-9) at Kempton 3m hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Dec.