CAPTAIN CONAN had Third Intention eight lengths away in third when winning a Grade 2 on his chasing debut at Cheltenham in November and the result was replicated in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase over 2m here the following month. He should again take care of his old rivals today as he stayed 2m2f over hurdles and may also have too much for Houblon Des Obeaux, who has done well over fences but generally races over further. He did win over 2m5f at Wincanton in November however. Changing Times is improving with experience but needs to step up on victories at Market Rasen and Taunton to figure here.
Captain Conan (FR) 4-7fav (11-2) Made all, quickened clear after 2 out, stayed on strongly, won at Sandown 2m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec beating Hinterland (10-10) by 3 1/2l, 5 ran.
Changing Times (IRE) 11-4fav (11-3) Led until 2nd, pressed leader, led again 7th, ridden and pressed when left 4 lengths clear 3 out, ridden and stayed on well, won at Taunton 2m 3f Novice Limited Handicap Chase (0-135) (4yo+) (3) sft in Dec beating Bally Legend (11-0) by 7l, 7 ran.
Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 7-4 (11-8) Always prominent, hard driven to challenge approaching 2 out, stayed on after last, never reached winner, 2nd of 4, 1 1/4l behind Court In Motion (11-1) at Lingfield 3m nov chs Grade 2 (1) hvy in Dec.
Third Intention (IRE) 16-1 (11-7) Disputed lead to 4 out, soon outpaced, lost 2nd next, weakened 2 out, 3rd of 7, 15l behind Dynaste (11-7) at Kempton 3m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.