Mon Parrain was in good form around this time last year, winning at Sandown and finishing second in the Topham Chase over the National fences at Aintree. He's been lightly campaigned this time around but did have Swincombe Rock behind when third at Cheltenham in December and will have his ground today. Benny Be Good deserves to win a race like this but has been fighting a losing battle with the handicapper for most of the season while this is a step up in class for Fakenham winner On Borrowed Wings. Faasel was never travelling at Cheltenham last week and, like Ouzbeck, may not be the force of old while it's difficult to place much faith in either Pearlysteps or Quotica De Poyans. IKORODU ROAD certainly wasn't winning out of turn at Doncaster when Benny be Good was a distant third. He's still well treated and can follow up here.
Benny Be Good 13-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders, outpaced 5 out, kept on from next, no impression, 3rd of 6, 21l behind Ikorodu Road (10-0) at Doncaster 3m 2f hcp chs (2) gd.
Mon Parrain (FR) 2-1fav (11-12) Held up in last trio, not fluent 12th, headway 4 out, went 3rd next, challenged 2 out, every chance last, ridden and kept on until no extra final 110 yards, lost 2nd near finish, 3rd of 6, 5l behind Shakalakaboomboom (11-0) at Cheltenham 3m 1f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Dec.
Pearlysteps 5-1 (10-3) Behind, reminders 8th, blundered nearly unseated rider 10th and ridden, tailed off 12th, pulled up before next, in a race won by Massini's Maguire (10-13) at Ascot 3m hcp chs Listed (1) gs in Feb, 12 ran.
Faasel (IRE) 16-1 (11-2) Always towards rear, tailed off when pulled up before last, in a race won by Sunnyhillboy (11-11) at Cheltenham 3m 1f Amateur Handicap Chase (0-145) (5yo+) (2) gd, 23 ran.
Swincombe Rock 12-1 (11-0) Held up in last trio, dropped to rear 6th, reminders 15th, outpaced next, no danger after, last of 6, 48l behind Shakalakaboomboom (11-0) at Cheltenham 3m 1f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Dec.
Ouzbeck (FR) 9-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, jumped slowly and lost place 4th, headway 9th, outpaced 13th, stayed on from 2 out, went 3rd flat, well held by front pair, 3rd of 10, 25l behind Marufo (10-4) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs 0-145 (2) gd.
On Borrowed Wings (IRE) 7-1 (11-5) Led 2nd, made rest, ridden clear 4 out, stayed on flat, won at Fakenham 3m hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Feb beating Ogee (11-12) by 8l, 10 ran.
Ikorodu Road 3-1 (10-0) Soon tracked leaders in 3rd, headway 2 out, about 3 lengths down when left in lead last, pressed run-in, just held on, won at Doncaster 3m 2f hcp chs (2) gd beating Junior (11-8) by shd, 6 ran.
Quotica De Poyans (FR) 8-1 (11-12) Held up, hit 6th, bad mistake 11th and pulled up, in a race won by Hunt Ball (10-13) at Wincanton 2m 5f hcp chs 0-130 (3) sft in Feb, 10 ran.
Ethiopia 10-1 (10-8) Never travelled and soon ridden along, chased leaders, reminders 7th and 13th, weakened before 16th, behind and pulled up before 18th, in a race won by Gone To Lunch (10-8) at Wincanton 3m 3f hcp chs 0-140 (3) gd in Oct, 10 ran.