With several front-runners facing the starter, this is likely to be run at a frenetic gallop. Ifandbutwhynot will probably be near the head of the market courtesy of his defeat of Chatterbox in a Listed handicap at Newbury but is one of those that likes to force the pace. Strongpoint, successful over 2m4f here last month, is another and Titus Bolt will be prominent. New Year's Eve faces a stiff task at the weights and Ultimate has taken an unusual route having contested a 3m chase at Newcastle when last seen. Zaplamation is on a hat-trick and had Deepsand well behind at Wetherby last month but John Quinn also runs the returning Hidden Justice. LOCAL HERO is probably thought of a summer performer but has won in the past at this time of year and on soft going. He goes well fresh and, with the race likely to be run to suit, could spring a bit of a surprise here under regular pilot Paul Bohan.
Runswick Royal (IRE) 12-1 (11-12) Held up mid-division, in rear from after 4 out, ridden and weakened after next, 9th of 10, 27l behind Makari (11-0) at Doncaster 2m hcp hdl (2) gd in Dec.
Local Hero (GER) 7-1 (11-5) Mid-division, weakened from 3 out, 8th of 14, 30l behind Sea Lord (11-1) at Market Rasen 2m 1f Listed hcp hdl (1) gd in Jul.
Ifandbutwhynot (IRE) 8-1 (10-11) Made all, ridden and well in command between last 2, kept on strongly flat, eased close home, won at Newbury 2m Lstd hcp hdl 0-155 (1) gs in Nov beating Chatterbox (11-7) by 4 1/2l, 8 ran.
Hidden Justice (IRE) 16-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear, struggling 3 out, weakened before next, tailed off, 10th of 17, well behind Our Conor (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gs in Mar.
Strongpoint (IRE) 7-1 (11-7) Made all, clear until 4 out, drew clear before last, kept on strongly, won at Musselburgh 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gd in Dec beating Big Water (11-10) by 17l, 8 ran.
Wyse Hill Teabags 7-1 (11-7) With winner, ridden before 3 out, kept on from last, 3rd of 10, 2 1/2l behind Orsippus (11-7) at Ayr 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-155 (2) gd in Apr.
Deepsand (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Soon tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd 2 out, no extra from last, 4th of 9, 4l behind Zaplamation (10-1) at Wetherby 2m (3) gs in Dec.
Ultimate 16-1 (11-7) With leader, led 4th to 7th, tracked leader, lost place 13th, outpaced 4 out, rallied briefly next, no impression in 4th before 2 out, 4th of 9, 12l behind Hey Big Spender (11-4) at Newcastle 3m listed hcp chs (1) gd in Nov.
Rumble of Thunder (IRE) 7-1 (10-10) Prominent, led 7th, headed before 2 out, soon weakened, hampered and unseated rider at hurdle, in a race won by Va'vite (10-5) at Market Rasen 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-150 (2) gf in Jul, 9 ran.
Bygones of Brid (IRE) 25-1 (11-1) Led until hit 2 out, weakened flat, 9th of 11, 28l behind Like Minded (11-1) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl (2) sft in Dec.
Zaplamation (IRE) 3-1fav (10-1) Held up mid-division, ridden and headway before last, soon went 2nd, kept on to lead close home, won at Wetherby 2m (3) gs in Dec beating Pas Trop Tard (10-13) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
New Year's Eve 1-2fav (10-12) Set slow pace, raced keenly, clear last, hard held, won at Worcester 2m NH nov hdl 4-6yo (4) gd in Oct beating Alphabetical Order (10-12) by 4l, 2 ran.
Smart Ruler (IRE) 16-1 (10-0) Chased leaders, under pressure when blundered and unseated rider 3 out, in a race won by Willow's Saviour (10-2) at Musselburgh 2m hcp hdl (2) gd in Nov, 10 ran.
Titus Bolt (IRE) 12-1 (11-3) Led, ridden and headed last, stayed on, 2nd of 13, 1 1/2l behind Bogside (11-0) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Dec.
Streets Of Newyork 17-2 (11-2) Held up, headway on outer 2 out, left 4th next, kept on towards finish, not trouble leaders, 4th of 13, 4 1/2l behind Bogside (11-0) at Kelso 2m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gs in Dec.