A winner over fences in France in 2012, Upepito has his first start for Venetia Williams in this. It would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end but FIRTH OF THE CLYDE may have too much for him on this occasion. The latter has taken really well to fences and further progress is expected on the back of a win at Wetherby. Flaming Gorge has struggled off higher marks since winning over these fences last year but a conditional's allowance could see him back in the mix, while Great Oak is also back on a winning mark now and showed signs of a resurgence over timber at Fakenham last month.
Upepito (FR) (11-2) won at Auteuil(FR) 2m 2f chs gs in Sep '12 beating Urokwell (10-12) by 20l, 9 ran.
Flaming Gorge (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Jumped right, chased leader, led narrowly 6th until next, chased leader, pushed along and every chance approaching 2 out, one pace in 3rd after 2 out, 3rd of 6, 17l behind San Telm (11-0) at Fakenham 2m 5f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Dec.
Firth Of The Clyde 9-5fav (11-7) Held up towards rear, in touch 7th, mistake 5 out, challenged and not fluent 2 out, kept on gamely to lead run-in, won at Wetherby 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Nov beating Tahiti Pearl (11-9) by 1l, 6 ran.
Great Oak (IRE) 5-4fav (11-3) Took keen hold, held up in last pair, headway approaching 2 out, went 3rd under pressure and no impression when hung left before last, kept on same pace flat, 3rd of 6, 4l behind Miss Biscotti (10-5) at Fakenham 2m mrs nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Speedy Bruere (FR) 16-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, pushed along and lost place before 9th, soon weakened, tailed off and pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Theatrical Star (11-12) at Taunton 2m 7f hcp chs 0-130 (3) hvy in Dec, 6 ran.
Jack The Gent (IRE) 12-1 (11-11) Led, blundered badly, headed and lost place 2nd, closed 6th, weakened approaching 4 out, jumped left and blundered next, 4th of 6, 48l behind Baile Anrai (11-9) at Leicester 2m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Dec.
Munsaab (IRE) 5-1 (11-7) Chased leaders, went 2nd 6th until 3 out, weakened next, went 3rd close home, 3rd of 6, 22l behind Tresor De Bontee (10-11) at Uttoxeter 2m nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) hvy in Dec.