Irish Guard returned to form over this trip at Leicester in November and bolted up over shorter at Towcester last month. He's clearly at the top of his game and can't be discounted. Cesium may just need this first run of the season but Supreme Keano had a good blow after his reappearance at Wetherby and should strip fitter here. High Jack should also be approaching peak fitness now but Western Whisky may need a little longer after falling on his return to action at Uttoxeter. RUSSIAN SONG was also an early casualty last time but had shown a deal of promise in his first start over fences at Exeter and, on a potentially decent mark here, could represent some value in an open race.
Cesium (FR) 9-1 (10-9) Led briefly 2nd, with winner, not fluent and reminder 7th, lost place 3 out, weakened from next, 5th of 13, 24l behind Midnight Chase (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov ltd hcp chs 0-135 (3) gd in Apr.
Irish Guard 12-1 (11-1) Mid-division, headway 4th, led 7th, came clear approaching 2 out, stayed on well, won at Towcester 2m hcp chs 0-110 (4) sft in Dec beating Handtheprizeover (11-3) by 18l, 10 ran.
Supreme Keano (IRE) 10-1 (11-8) Held up in rear, hit 1st, jumped right 2nd and 5th, effort approaching 4 out, one pace when not fluent 2 out, weakened when jumped right last, 4th of 6, 20l behind Le Platino (11-9) at Wetherby 2m 6f hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Nov.
Tyup Pompey (IRE) 25-1 (10-9) Held up towards rear, headway 4th, soon tracked leaders, lost place approaching 12th, tailed off 6 out, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Midnight Haze (11-12) at Ludlow 3m hcp chs 0-120 (3) gs in Nov, 9 ran.
High Jack (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Held up in last pair, pushed along in rear when hit 11th, stayed on to poor 4th 2 out, hit last, 4th of 8, 28l behind Flemish Invader (11-9) at Warwick 2m 4f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gs in Nov.
Russian Song (IRE) 9-1 (10-6) Mid-division on outside when fell 1st, in a race won by Major Malarkey (11-6) at Newbury 3m nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Dec, 16 ran.
Western Whisky (FR) 11-2 (11-6) Held up in 4th when fell heavily 5th, in a race won by Fine Parchment (11-4) at Uttoxeter 2m 4f hcp chs 0-115 (4) hvy in Nov, 6 ran.
Strongbows Legend 13-2 (11-3) Mid-division, chased leaders 5 out, ridden 3 out, weakened before last, 7th of 18, 24l behind Rimini (11-5) at Newbury 2m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Dec.
Brenin Cwmtudu 10-3 (11-9) Tracked leaders, not fluent 3rd, went 2nd 11th, ridden 3 out, kept on same pace approaching last, no impression flat, 2nd of 4, 4 1/2l behind Backfromthecongo (11-7) at Ffos Las 3m nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) gf in Apr.
Mokum (FR) 33-1 (10-11) Always behind, 12th of 18, 46l behind Rimini (11-5) at Newbury 2m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Dec.
Festival Dreams 12-1 (9-13) Hampered 1st, with leaders, led 5th to 7th, in touch when blundered and unseated rider 9th, in a race won by Rimini (11-5) at Newbury 2m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Dec, 18 ran.
Kilvergan Boy (IRE) 16-1 (11-2) Tracked leader, ridden approaching 3 out, soon outpaced, 8th of 18, 37l behind Pocketwood (11-9) at Exeter 2m 5f 4yo Am hcp 0-100 (4) gs in Dec.