The market can be a friend here, but we'll side with DUTY FREE, ahead of Press The Button and Choctaw Nation. Third in his last three runs, which have been in nursery company, the drop back to a maiden could see him finally win over jumps at the sixth time of asking. A flat winner a couple of years ago, this son of Rock of Gibraltar has taken to jumping, having been placed in all five starts to date, and has an official rating of 111, well above Mid Valley and Wee Ziggy, the only other two to have a mark. Having Tony McCoy on board is an added bonus. Press The Button is making his jumps debut, having paid his way on the flat over the years. The yard aren't renowned for their jumps' success, and we're taking on trust he'll take to this code of racing. Choctaw Nation won a bumper on debut, but has been lightly raced since, most recently being placed on the flat at Ripon. Market support would be encouraging, as indeed it would be for any of these having their first crack over obstacles, but we'll side with experience and Duty Free.
Choctaw Nation 8-1 (11-7) Held up mid-division, weakened from 3 out, 9th of 13, 36l behind Cloudy Times (11-4) at Aintree 2m 1f NH flat (4) sft in Oct.
Duty Free (IRE) 3-1 (10-12) Held up in rear, headway after 3 out, hit 2 out, went 2nd soon after last, no impression on winner, 2nd of 10, 4 1/2l behind Zafar (10-12) at Bangor 2m 1f nh nov hdl (4) gf in Jul.
Escardo (GER) (8-7) 2nd of 3 Abacco (8-9) at Baden-Baden(GER) 1m 1f hcp sft in May (flat).
Mid Valley 20-1 (10-12) Took keen hold, held up in rear, headway after 4th, ridden and weakened after next, 10th of 13, 42l behind Oceana Gold (10-12) at Huntingdon 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Oct.
Press The Button (GER) 14-1 (8-11) Took keen hold, soon settled 3rd, travelling well when hampered on rail inside final 2f, weakened soon after, 8th of 10, 6l behind Munsef (9-8) at Chester 1m 5f listed hcp 0-110 (1) gf (flat).
Shannon Weir (IRE) 100-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, raced keenly, always behind, 11th of 14, 42l behind Lucky Dancer (10-13) at Worcester 2m mdn hdl (5) gf.
Wee Ziggy 16-1 (10-0) Held up in rear, some headway approaching 6th, soon ridden, weakened approaching 3 out, 6th of 9, 27l behind Kickahead (11-7) at Stratford 2m am hcp hdl 0-105 (4) gf.
Wester Ross (IRE) 25-1 (11-0) Chased leaders, ridden approaching 2 out, weakened soon after, 8th of 14, 36l behind Micheal Flips (11-8) at Kempton 2m nh nov hdl (2) gd in Dec.
Director's Chair 25-1 (10-8) Slowly into stride, always in rear, 13th of 14, 23l behind Wiseman's Diamond (10-7) at Beverley 1m am hcp 0-65 (6) gd (flat).
Empire Seeker (USA) 4-1fav (9-1) Chased leaders, ridden over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong, 6th of 11, 6l behind Denton (9-2) at Lingfield 1m 2f hcp (6) pol (flat).
Seader (USA) 11-2 (10-7) Reminders 1st, chased winner until after 4th, chased winner again after 3 out, every chance when hit 2 out, no extra last, 2nd of 10, 4l behind Mouseen (11-0) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f 4yo mdn stks (5) gf.
Tollishill (IRE) 5-1 (10-13) Held up, ridden over 5f out, headway from over 3f out, went 2nd over 1f out, stayed on, always held by winner, 2nd of 12, 2 1/4l behind Valbuena (10-3) at Newton Abbot 2m 1f NH flat (6) gd in Jun.