Latanier is bound to be popular with backers following his comfortable success at Ludlow last month and a 7lb penalty for that success may not prevent him from following up but the presence of RIVALISTE may and he gets the vote with the main danger rated as Captain Americo. Andrew Turnell's gelding was a faller early on at Newbury recently but trip and ground conditions suit and he cannot be discounted. Total Victory is a consistent performer and should be thereabouts once more but he is probably better on faster ground so looks best left out of calculations. Gary Moore's Cockatoo ran promisingly on his reappearance at Kempton last month on his chasing debut and he has to be considered on ground conditions that suit but it is hard to get away from Rivaliste. Formerly trained in France but now with Paul Nicholls, the four-year-old made a winning start for new connections when landing a novices' handicap in good fashion at Newbury last month and he is taken to defy the penalty for that success.
Latanier (FR) 15-8 (11-1) Made all, jumped well, clear approaching 10th, went further clear 4 out, unchallenged, won at Ludlow 2m 4f beg chs (4) sft in Nov beating Distiller (10-10) by 35l, 6 ran.
Captain Americo (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) Led until mistake 3rd (water), chased leader to 5th, 3rd when fell next, in a race won by Riverside Theatre (11-0) at Newbury 2m 1f beg chs (3) gs in Nov, 6 ran.
Rivaliste (FR) 6-4fav (11-4) Took keen hold, prominent, fluent 3rd, led approaching 5th, jumped right and mistake 4 out, hit 2 out, driven to assert flat, stayed on, won at Newbury 2m 2f nov hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Nov beating Ikorodu Road (11-7) by 2l, 11 ran.
Cockatoo (USA) 16-1 (11-0) Led, headed 7th, slow 4 out, weakened before next, stayed on to take remote 3rd close home, 3rd of 6, 21l behind You're The Top (11-0) at Kempton 2m nov chs (3) gs in Nov.
Total Victory (IRE) 5-1 (11-12) Tracked leader in 2nd, 3rd 6 out, 5th 3 out, soon ridden, kept on same pace from next, 4th of 15, 19l behind Oscar Looby (11-12) at Limerick 2m 3f beg chs in Oct.
Award Winner 8-1 (11-0) Chased leader to 8th, mistake 4 out, outpaced and went left 3 out, rallied from 2 out, headway into 2nd flat, pushed along and kept on well towards finish, 2nd of 5, nk behind Sunnyhillboy (11-0) at Lingfield 2m beg chs (4) sft in Nov.
Doctor Pat (IRE) (10-3) 6th of 10, 25l behind Synaptique (10-12) at Auteuil(FR) 2m 4f chs gs in Nov.
Uncle Eli (IRE) 10-1 (11-4) Mid-division, slow jump 7th, ridden 11th, dropped to last at 14th, tailed off and pulled up before next, in a race won by Fine Parchment (11-2) at Lingfield 3m hcp chs 0-110 (4) sft in Nov, 10 ran.