The Knoxs appears to be the Nicholls yard's number one hope but his jumping has always been a problem and Ryan Mahon takes 3lb off stablemate Pacha Du Polder, who might appreciate the better ground. Midnight Sail arrives in form having won at Kempton last week while the mare Pepite Rose and novice Tony Star can't be ignored. Garynella should strip fitter for his UK debut at Cheltenham but still needs to improve to figure in this grade whereas BIG FELLA THANKS has proven himself several times over. He won this in 2010 and has come right back to form for Tom George recently, beating subsequent Ayr winner Consigliere with more in hand than the official margin suggests at Wincanton last time. He can defy a 9lb weight rise as Saved By John is tackling better company now and Ballabriggs is being primed for another tilt at the Grand National and has a preferred engagement at Kelso today. Micheal Flips is on a decent mark but has been below par in recent outings.
Big Fella Thanks 6-1 (11-12) Mid-division, close up 8th, challenged 5 out, led going well 3 out, driven clear approaching last, ridden out, won at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Jan beating Consigliere (10-12) by 4 1/2l, 10 ran.
BallaBriggs (IRE) 16-1 (11-9) Led to 2nd, chased leaders, ridden after 3 out, weakened after next, last of 7, 24l behind Molotof (11-0) at Warwick 2m 4f hcp chs (2) hvy in Feb.
Pacha Du Polder (FR) 12-1 (10-13) Chased leaders to 11th, weakened before 3 out, pulled up next, in a race won by Katenko (10-13) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) hvy in Jan, 16 ran.
The Knoxs (IRE) 3-1 (10-9) In touch in mid-division, headway 9th, not fluent 5 out, challenged 4 out, led before next, narrowly headed when fell last, in a race won by Bless The Wings (10-11) at Newbury 2m 4f hcp chs (2) gs in Nov, 10 ran.
Pepite Rose (FR) 10-3 (11-2) Held up in 5th, outpaced 2 out (usual 3 out), soon weakened, 5th of 7, 48l behind William's Wishes (10-6) at Ascot 2m 1f hcp chs (2) hvy in Nov.
Mahogany Blaze (FR) 12-1 (11-12) Mid-division, hit 9th, headway approaching 5 out, mistake and weakened next, 5th of 9, well behind Carrickboy (10-12) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs (2) hvy in Jan.
Tony Star (FR) 11-4 (11-0) Held up in rear, took keen hold, headway when not fluent 8th, ridden before 2 out, went 2nd last, stayed on same pace, no impression, 2nd of 7, 3l behind Tetlami (11-7) at Huntingdon 2m nov chs (3) sft in Feb.
Micheal Flips (IRE) 20-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders in 3rd, ridden over 1f out, one pace, 4th of 16, 4 1/2l behind Dr Livingstone (11-4) at Kempton 2m n h flat (3) std in Jan.
Midnight Sail 5-1 (11-11) Chased leader, led briefly 6th until after next, pressed leader, led again 11th, in command 2 out, stayed on well, won at Kempton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gd in Feb beating Lexicon Lad (10-13) by 1 3/4l, 8 ran.
Mr Gardner (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Tracked leader, led 12th, headed after 4 out, weakened before next, 4th of 10, 24l behind Big Fella Thanks (11-12) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-145 (2) sft in Jan.
Saved By John (IRE) 4-1 (10-5) Made all, driven and joined last, hard pressed thereafter, just prevailed, won at Wincanton 2m Novice Handicap Chase (0-140) (5yo+) (3) hvy in Jan beating Bury Parade (11-5) by ns, 6 ran.
Bahrain Storm (IRE) 40-1 (11-5) Mid-division, struggling when mistake 19th, behind when pulled up after 24th, in a race won by Uncle Junior (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m 7f crs cntry chs (5yo+) (2) gs in Nov, 16 ran.
Garynella (FR) 11-4fav (10-0) Tracked leaders on inside, joined winner 5 out, hit next, ridden and effort after 3 out, no impression when hit next, soon lost 2nd, no chance with front pair after, 3rd of 7, 35l behind Shooters Wood (10-1) at Cheltenham 2m hcp chs (2) hvy in Dec.