David Pipe won this last year with the smart Grands Crus and can repeat the trick with the equally-promising DYNASTE. A Grade 3 winner over hurdles, he's made a smooth transition to chasing and his Newbury defeat of Court In Motion was franked when the runner-up went one better in a Grade 2 at Lingfield earlier this month. Theatre Guide is easily held on Newbury running while Hadrian's Approach still has a bit to learn about jumping fences, though had every chance when falling in Harry Topper's race at Newbury last time. Haydock winner Poungach needs to find more while the trip could be a problem for Molotof and Third Intention on soft ground but it's interesting that Alan King is plunging Lovcen in at the deep end over the larger obstacles as he was one of the leading novice hurdlers of last season and has the size to make a chaser.
Dynaste (FR) 4-9fav (11-8) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 5th, travelling well and 2 lengths off leader when left in lead 4 out, clear next, very easily, not extended, won at Newbury 2m 4f nov chs Grade 2 (1) gs in Nov beating Court In Motion (11-1) by 4 1/2l, 6 ran.
Hadrian's Approach (IRE) 8-1 (11-9) Chased leaders, not fluent 3rd, challenging in 3rd when fell 4 out, in a race won by Harry Topper (11-6) at Newbury 3m nov chs Grade 2 (1) sft in Nov, 6 ran.
Lovcen (GER) 4-1fav (11-12) Held up towards rear, hit 5th and ridden briefly, headway approaching 3 out, ridden and outpaced approaching next, plugged on again from last, 5th of 13, 7l behind Goulanes (10-2) at Cheltenham 3m 1f Listed hcp hdl (1) sft in Nov.
Molotof (FR) 5-1 (11-3) In rear, mistake 4th, headway before 6 out to take 2nd place, challenged next, ridden before 2 out, one pace, 2nd of 5, 4l behind Rocky Creek (11-1) at Doncaster 3m nov chs (4) gs.
Poungach (FR) 11-4fav (11-1) Close up, headway to lead approaching 4 out, ridden and stayed on strongly run-in, won at Haydock 2m 6f nov chs (2) sft in Nov beating Super Duty (11-1) by 2 1/4l, 6 ran.
Theatre Guide (IRE) 9-1 (11-8) Held up, headway 3rd, not fluent 9th, pushed along after 5 out, left 3rd 4 out, no impression next, mistake last, 3rd of 6, 12l behind Dynaste (11-8) at Newbury 2m 4f nov chs Grade 2 (1) gs in Nov.
Third Intention (IRE) 17-2 (11-2) Chased leaders, outpaced 3 out, stayed on to go 3rd after last, never able to challenge, 3rd of 5, 8l behind Captain Conan (11-2) at Sandown 2m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft.