Today's going looks against Engai, but there's plenty of others with claims. Arkaim was still in contention when unseating at Catterick and can figure with a clear round while Proud Times opened his account over fences at the same track last time and has a shout. Little Jimmy is only 3lb higher than when completing the last leg of a treble at this time last year and Stormhoek isn't out of this either. However, MASSENA's first victory over the larger obstacles came over track and trip last month and Venetia Williams' charge gets the vote to follow-up with further progress likely.
Engai (GER) 2-1fav (11-10) Held up towards rear and in touch, led 10th and blundered badly, soon headed and weakened, last of 5, 35l behind Easily Pleased (11-2) at Newton Abbot 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd in Aug.
Massena (IRE) Evensfav (11-10) Pressed leader, led after 8th, clear 4 out until slowed into 3 out, headed 2 out, led last, headed flat, led again and edged left towards finish, won at Leicester 2m nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Jan beating Un Anjou (11-12) by 3/4l, 8 ran.
Arkaim 4-1 (11-0) Led, headed after 4 out, jumped right 5th, went 2nd before 3 out, in 4th when blundered and unseated rider 2 out, in a race won by Cloudy Joker (11-9) at Catterick 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) sft in Jan, 6 ran.
Proud Times (USA) 9-2 (11-7) Tracked leader, led 2 out, pressed from last, all out, won at Catterick 2m nov hcp chs 0-115 (4) sft in Jan beating Hotgrove Boy (10-0) by 3l, 5 ran.
Stormhoek (IRE) 7-4fav (11-12) Tracked leader, dropped to 3rd at 6th, regained 2nd after 4 out, led before next, ridden 2 out, headed last, beaten and eased flat, 2nd of 4, 13l behind Cooldine Run (10-2) at Southwell 2m hcp ch 0-110 (4) hvy in Jan.
Molko Jack (FR) 9-1 (9-9) Tracked leaders, outpaced in 4th after 7th, went remote 3rd after 4 out, no chance with front pair, tailed off, 3rd of 6, well behind Un Guet Apens (11-12) at Sedgefield 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) sft in Dec.
Little Jimmy 7-2 (11-2) Held up towards rear, headway 6th, went 3rd after 4 out, pushed along before next, kept on same pace, lost 3rd before last, kept on same pace and no impression in 4th, 4th of 10, 12l behind Sablazo (10-0) at Lingfield 2m hcp 0-100 (5) hvy in Nov.
Celts Espere 100-1 (9-9) Always in rear, pulled up, in a race won by Blackwell Synergy (11-10) at Huntingdon 3m hcp chs 0-100 (5) gs in Mar, 8 ran.