BIG BUCK'S is impossible to oppose in this rescheduled Grade 1 contest. Winner of the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in the last two seasons and successful in this 12 months ago, the seven-year-old comfortably beat Duc De Regniere on his reappearance over C&D last month and also has the beating of fifth Kayf Aramis. Restless Harry fell on his only previous attempt at 3m and disappointed at Cheltenham last time while, even in his prime, trail-blazer Lough Derg would have struggled to make all in this. Afsoun was capable on his day but is another probably on a downward spiral and unlikely to figure here.
Afsoun (FR) 66-1 (11-5) Held up towards rear, headway into mid-division when brought down 3 out, in a race won by Lush Life (11-2) at Cheltenham 3m hcp hdl (2) gd, 16 ran.
Big Buck's (FR) 2-7fav (11-8) Held up in last pair, staedy headway on outside 6th, chased leaders 8th, 3rd travelling well before 3 out, soon challenging, led soon after 2 out, pushed along and stayed on strongly flat, won at Newbury 3m hdl G2 (1) gs in Nov beating Duc De Regniere (11-0) by 3l, 6 ran.
Duc De Regniere (FR) 13-2 (11-0) Tracked leading trio, headway to 2nd before 3 out, led approaching 2 out, soon joined, ridden and headed soon after, driven one pace and no chance with winner flat, 2nd of 6, 3l behind Big Buck's (11-8) at Newbury 3m hdl G2 (1) gs in Nov.
Kayf Aramis 33-1 (11-2) Mid-division, lost place 6th, outpaced 3 out, kept on under pressure approaching last, never near leaders, 6th of 12, 16l behind Karabak (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) gs.
Lough Derg (FR) 33-1 (11-0) Led, slow 4 out, headed before next, weakened soon after 3 out, tailed off, 7th of 8, 42l behind Silviniaco Conti (11-4) at Ascot 2m 3f hdl G2 (1) gs in Nov.
Restless Harry 11-2 (11-6) Pressed leader, mistake 3rd, led after 3 out to next, soon ridden and one pace, no impression approaching last, 7th of 12, 18l behind Karabak (11-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) gs.