Paul Nicholls has won this twice on the last four years and is doubly represented this season. David Cottin rode Solar Impulse to victory at Auteuil last June and flown over for the ride on the French import, who was a bit disappointing when favourite for the Finale Hurdle at Chepstow in December. Daryl Jacob, on board that day, now partners Alcala but he lacks a recent outing. Fitzwilly is another returning from a break and Agreement makes his hurdling debut while Duroble Man was well beaten at Warwick last time. ACTIVIAL can give a boost to the Triumph Hurdle hopes of Calipto by landing this. Harry Fry's charge was second to that one at Newbury and should strip fitter here. Commissioned looks sure to be winning soon judged on his third at Cheltenham while Goodwood Mirage should find this easier than the Grade 2 he contested recently.
Duroble Man 2-1 (11-5) Pulled hard in touch, mistake 4 out, soon lost place, weakened before 3 out, 8th of 11, 28l behind Mahican (10-12) at Warwick 2m 3yo hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Solar Impulse (FR) 15-8fav (11-0) Tracked leaders, went 2nd from 2nd, not fluent when challenging next, mistake 4th, ridden and lost 2nd just before 4 out, weakened approaching next, 4th of 5, 37l behind Le Rocher (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 3yo hdl Grd 1 (1) hvy in Dec.
Fitzwilly 10-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders in 3rd, ridden after 3 out, went 2nd before 2 out, soon led, kept on well from last, won at Market Rasen 2m 1f 3yo hdl (4) gd in Jul beating Hanga Roa (10-9) by 11l, 9 ran.
Goodwood Mirage (IRE) 9-1 (11-4) Took keen hold, held up in rear, headway when not fluent 2 out, soon beaten, weakened before last, tailed off, last of 6, well behind Le Rocher (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Activial (FR) 8-1 (10-12) With leader, challenged from 3 out, every chance last, kept on and no extra towards finish, 2nd of 9, 3 1/2l behind Calipto (10-12) at Newbury 2m 3yo hdl (3) gs in Nov.
Agreement (IRE) 4-5fav (9-5) Tracked leader in 2nd, ridden to lead entering straight and asserted 1f out, driven out and stayed on well inside final furlong, won at Galway 1m 4f 3yo mdn hvy in Aug beating Stepping Down (9-0) by 5l, 5 ran (flat).
Alcala (FR) (10-3) 2nd of 17, 3l behind As De Ferbet (10-3) at Auteuil(FR) 2m 2f 3yo hdl sft in Sep.
Commissioned (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) Held up in rear, headway after 3 out, close up behind front pair when not much room and not fluent last, unable to quicken and held after, stayed on towards finish, 3rd of 6, 4l behind Ballyglasheen (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 3yo hdl (2) gd in Dec.