Exeter winner LAST SHOT drops back to 2m off a 6lb higher mark but his stable is still firing on all cylinders and the six-year-old may well be up to the task against rivals who generally struggle to get their heads in front. Alwaystheoptimist is still 3lb higher than when winning on fast ground in June but the novice Zarzal doesn't look badly treated on his hurdles form and has more scope than Lingfield runner-up Takeroc and Free World. Save My Blushes has travelled over from Ireland but has been out of form of late.
Alwaystheoptimist 9-1 (11-2) Held up off the pace, headway to chase clear leader after 3 out, ridden and keeping on one pace when blundered last and buckled on landing, 3rd of 4, 12l behind Tempest River (11-5) at Huntingdon 2m (3) sft.
Zarzal (IRE) 12-1 (11-2) Held up 4th, mistake 4th, blundered 8th, went modest 3rd after 2 out, 3rd of 4, 26l behind Taquin Du Seuil (11-2) at Ffos Las 2m nov chs (4) hvy in Oct.
Save My Blushes 14-1 (11-2) Prominent early, soon chased leaders on inner, under pressure from 6th, ridden in mid-division before 6 out, no extra from 4 out, tailed off, 8th of 13, well behind Wildcatted (10-4) at Limerick 2m 3f hcp hdl 80-109 gd in Oct.
Takeroc (FR) 12-1 (11-8) Held up, headway 7th, ridden before 3 out, chased winner next, stayed on, unable to challenge, 2nd of 5, 1 1/4l behind Be All Man (11-11) at Lingfield 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) hvy.
Last Shot (FR) 5-1 (11-11) Made most until hampered 6th, tracked leaders, led again 4 out, slowed into last, driven out, won at Exeter 2m 3f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gs beating Moleskin (11-10) by 2l, 8 ran.
Akula (IRE) 14-1 (11-0) Blundered and unseated rider 1st, in a race won by Valco De Touzaine (11-0) at Leicester 2m nov chs (3) gf, 5 ran.
Nez Rouge (FR) 9-1 (11-9) Prominent, ridden after 5 out, 3rd and beaten next, weakened before 2 out, 5th of 8, 39l behind Mister Grez (11-7) at Ffos Las 2m 5f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd in Oct.
Free World (FR) 4-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, hampered 2nd, headway 4 out, mistake 2 out, jumped left and one pace last, 4th of 8, 5l behind Mibleu (11-4) at Uttoxeter 2m hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in Jun.
Topthorn 20-1 (11-10) Behind when fell 3rd, in a race won by Gandalfe (11-12) at Huntingdon 2m hcp chs 0-105 (4) gs, 10 ran.