Saphir Du Rheu is sure to be popular here having finished third in a Listed race at Auteuil in September on his hurdles bow when trained by Guy Cherel. It's hard to believe Paul Nicholls won't eke a little improvement out of his new charge but this is far from straightforward. Vasco D'ycy won a bumper in France and was second at Ludlow earlier this month while there wasn't much to choose between Bold Cuffs, Hector's Chance and Cropley on the Flat. The latter has already finished fourth over hurdles at Sandown but PISTOL makes more appeal as he went close on several occasions on the level when trained by Sir Michael Stoute. Though High Chaparral's progeny don't have a terrific record over jumps, Philip Hobbs' newcomer may have more speed than these if his jumping holds up.
Bold Cuffs 3-1 (9-5) Tracked leader and keen, led over 2f out, ridden and clear from over 1f out, won at Catterick 1m 4f hcp 0-75 (5) sft in Oct beating Authentication (8-12) by 7l, 13 ran (flat).
Cropley (IRE) 6-1 (10-5) Chased leaders, went 3rd approaching 3 out, ridden and weakened before next, tired when went left last, 4th of 11, 11l behind Feb Thirtyfirst (11-2) at Sandown 2m 3yo hdl (4) sft.
Hector's Chance 66-1 (8-0) Held up towards rear and keen, ridden over 1f out, never dangerous, 7th of 9, 12l behind Layali Dubai (9-2) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f hcp 0-85 (4) pol (flat).
Khan Of Khans (IRE) 10-1 (10-2) Prominent, jumped right 1st, led 2nd, jumped right 3rd, headed 5th, no impression from 3 out, 6th of 10, 22l behind Tidal Way (11-5) at Ludlow 2m 3yo hdl (4) gd.
Pistol (IRE) 9-2 (9-1) Dwelt, held up towards rear, pushed along over 4f out, ridden over 3f out, went 3rd over 1f out, one pace, 3rd of 6, 11l behind Flashman (8-3) at Haydock 1m 6f 3yo hcp 0-85 (4) gs in Jul (flat).
Saphir Du Rheu (FR) (10-3) 3rd of 16, 6l behind Storminator (10-3) at Auteuil(FR) 2m 2f 3yo hdl hvy in Sep.
Vasco D'ycy (FR) 5-2 (10-12) Led until 2nd, led 5th, headed 3 out, still every chance last, held final 100 yards, 2nd of 10, 2l behind Tidal Way (11-5) at Ludlow 2m 3yo hdl (4) gd.
Chella Thriller (SPA) 10-1 (8-13) Dwelt, soon chasing leaders, driven over 3f out, led over 1f out, soon headed, faded final furlong, 7th of 12, 11l behind Kittens (9-3) at Wolverhampton 1m 4f 3yo hcp 0-65 (6) pol in Oct (flat).
Isobella 7-2fav (8-11) Held up in rear, headway whennot clear run over 2f out, soon bumped, ridden and edged right over 1f out, no impression, 6th of 11, 9l behind Lucky Diva (9-7) at Bath 2m 1f hcp 0-60 (6) fm in Sep (flat).