Kie, a winner twice over hurdles, made a winning start to his chase career at Musselburgh and makes more appeal than the increasingly quirky Escort'men. But he was rated 9lb inferior to TETLAMI over the smaller obstacles and has to concede weight in this. Nicky Henderson's chasing debutant will have had plenty of schooling and should get off the mark at the first time of asking if he jumps adequately, even though he may lack the scope to go right to the very top over fences.
Kie (IRE) 6-5fav (10-7) Blundered 1st, made all, clear 4th until went left 8th, drew clear again and well in command after 4 out, slight peck 2 out, eased flat, unchallenged, won at Musselburgh 2m beg chs (3) gd in Nov beating Rigidity (11-1) by 11l, 6 ran.
Escort'men (FR) 66-1 (11-2) Held up in rear, lost touch after 4 out, tailed off, last of 5, well behind Captain Conan (11-2) at Sandown 2m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
Tetlami (IRE) 13-2 (11-5) Close up, not fluent last, soon weakened, 8th of 10, 21l behind Raya Star (11-6) at Ayr 2m Ltd hcp hdl (1) gd in Apr.