With three previous winners facing the starter and two of the others having finished second on their debuts, this looks a competitive bumper. Kalucci was beaten less than a length at Wetherby last month and has McCoy in the saddle. He may be the main danger to VIEUX LION ROUGE, who won easily at Ffos Las and looks a nice prospect. Towcester scorer Shipton makes more appeal than John Reel and Keppel Isle of the others with experience while the market should be monitored with regard to a clutch of newcomers from big yards. Warren Greatrex' Chase The Wind and Piccadilly Line, a rare runner under NH Rules for Michael Bell, are possibly the most interesting of the latter group.
John Reel (FR) 6-4 (10-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd over 4f out, led over 1f out, clear inside final furlong, stayed on well, won at Ffos Las 1m 6f n h flat 3yo (6) sft in Nov beating Castle Beach (10-12) by 8l, 6 ran.
Shipton 11-4fav (10-12) Held up in touch on outside, went 2nd 3f out, led over 2f out, stayed on well, won at Towcester 1m 5f n h flat 3yo (6) sft in Dec beating Mistral Reine (10-5) by 3l, 9 ran.
Vieux Lion Rouge (FR) 8-11fav (10-7) Made all, driven clear over 1f out, impressive, won at Ffos Las 2m mdn nat hunt flat (6) hvy in Dec beating Benefique Royale (10-13) by 14l, 6 ran.
Chase The Wind (IRE) Spadoun gelding out of Asfreeasthewind.
Kalucci (IRE) 10-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, led over 3f out, ridden over 2f out, headed 1f out, kept on towards finish, 2nd of 15, 3/4l behind Master Red (10-5) at Wetherby 1m 5f n h flat 3yo (6) sft in Dec.
Keppel Isle (IRE) 4-1 (10-12) With leader until led 6f out, ridden and headed 2f out, plugged on same pace, 2nd of 7, 17l behind Chris Pea Green (10-9) at Huntingdon 1m 6f n h flat 3yo (6) sft in Nov.
Piccadilly Line Lawman gelding out of Crystal.
Quite By Chance Midnight Legend gelding out of Hop Fair.
Vendredi Trois (FR) Shaanmer gelding out of Legende Sacree.
Recherche Sirillio filly out of Rattina.