Contests like this are never as straightforward as they first appear. Champion Court, who was hampered and unseated his rider in the King George here last month, finished half-a-length ahead of CAPTAIN CHRIS and 12 lengths ahead of Ghizao in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon in November but is undoubtedly better on good ground. Philip Hobbs' charge, who never runs a bad race here, will strip fitter today and can reverse the form and take this as he should have too much for Willie Mullins' Twinlight off level weights, though the latter has won six of his nine starts over fences including his last three. With her mare's allowance, Pepite Rose could run well but Tataniano faces a stiff task at the weights.
Captain Chris (IRE) 7-2 (11-10) Held up in rear, jumped right 2nd, soon mid-division, headway to chase leaders 4 out, ridden to challenge after next, stayed on same pace approaching last, 3rd of 7, 3/4l behind Riverside Theatre (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 4f Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec.
Twinlight (FR) 9-10fav (11-10) Prominent, on terms from before 5th, led approaching straight, travelling smoothly when left clear 3 out, jumped right 2 out, stayed on well, easily, won at Cork 2m chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Dec beating Lead Kindly Light (11-0) by 6l, 7 ran.
Champion Court (IRE) 33-1 (11-10) Held up in rear when blundered and unseated rider 5th, in a race won by Silviniaco Conti (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec, 9 ran.
Ghizao (GER) 10-1 (11-6) Chased leaders, hit 3 out, effort next, weakened last, 6th of 7, 12l behind Riverside Theatre (11-0) at Huntingdon 2m 4f Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec.
Tataniano (FR) 66-1 (11-0) Tracked clear leader until 5th, soon in rear, went poor 4th in closing stages, tailed off, 4th of 6, 40l behind Sire De Grugy (11-10) at Kempton 2m Grade 2 chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
Pepite Rose (FR) 4-1 (11-2) Jumped big and rider lost iron briefly 1st, tracked leaders, headway into 3rd 5 out, led before next, ridden clear before 2 out, driven right out, won at Wetherby 2m hcp chs 0-150 (2) sft in Dec beating King Of The Wolds (10-8) by 11l, 5 ran.