ROYAUME BLEU is rated 10lb lower over hurdles than fences and has been in decent form over the larger obstacles lately. Dushy Valley was pulled up when he ran over 3m2f here six weeks ago and last year's winner, Royal Kicks, arrived with a similar profile. Maccabees finished just ahead of Landerbee over 2m here last month but whether either of that pair will stay this far is anybody's guess. Torran Sound has been keeping slightly better company but is woefully one-paced and another who has his stamina to prove. Zafaraban is still a maiden but has a chance on his best form, though better ground would suit.
Twopoundsofbutter (IRE) 100-1 (10-11) Took keen hold in rear, behind from 6th, tailed off, 14th of 15, well behind Deputy Dan (11-0) at Chepstow 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) hvy in Dec.
Torran Sound 13-2 (11-12) Held up in touch, smooth headway to track leaders 8th, ridden in 3rd 3 out, kept on same pace and no chance with leading duo, 3rd of 7, 20l behind Campbonnais (11-12) at Fakenham 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) hvy in Jan.
Zafaraban (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Pressed leader, ridden along at times, driven 3 out, plugged on same pace, 3rd of 5, 24l behind Mistral Reine (11-4) at Fakenham 2m 7f nov hcp 0-115 (4) hvy.
Royaume Bleu (FR) 6-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders, went 3rd from 8th, ridden before last, lost 2nd run-in, no extra, 3rd of 9, 9l behind The Last Bridge (10-8) at Southwell 3m hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy.
Maccabees 20-1 (10-12) Raced widest of all, held up in last trio, hung right on stable bend after 4th, plugged on from after 2 out and kept on flat, never nearer, 6th of 13, 22l behind Clonusker (10-1) at Plumpton 2m hcp hdl 0-100 (5) hvy in Jan.
Landerbee (IRE) 20-1 (10-0) Steadied and restrained start, held up well in rear, mistake 3rd, mistake 3 out, plugged on from after 2 out, kept on flat, nearest finish, 7th of 13, 23l behind Clonusker (10-1) at Plumpton 2m hcp hdl 0-100 (5) hvy in Jan.
Dushy Valley (IRE) 3-1 (10-8) Led until 8th, chased winner, pushed along and lost 2nd on long run to 3 out (normal 4 out), weakened into 4th when pulled up approaching 3 out, in a race won by Royaume Bleu (10-12) at Plumpton 3m 2f hcp chs 0-100 (5) hvy in Jan, 6 ran.
Strange Bird (IRE) 14-1 (10-11) Tracked leaders, led 4 out, chalenged before 3 out, headed 3 out, weakened before 2 out, 4th of 7, 39l behind Mudita Moment (12-2) at Plumpton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) hvy in Jan.
Alfie Alexander (IRE) 50-1 (10-7) Always behind, jumped slowly 3rd and 4th, soon struggling, pulled up after 4 out, in a race won by Night Of Passion (10-10) at Plumpton 3m 1f hcp hdl 0-95 (5) sft in Dec, 12 ran.