After the bad news over Mighty Man, Henry Daly could do with a pick-me-up here through Quentin Collonges, though he might be found out by VORAMAR TWO, while Valentine Vic, An Accordion and Cappa Bleu are all potentially tough opponents. The selection has appeared to be crying out for this step-up in trip in four runs to date, and he has done well to make the runner-up spot on two of those occasions. There are no problems with the form of the stable, cut in the ground suits the gelding, and he can progress now sent over three miles. Quentin Collonges won a war of attrition at Huntingdon on Boxing Day and now carries a double penalty. Stamina won't be an issue, nor will the ground, but that extra 7lbs might just. Valentine Vic has to be taken very seriously after three wins from four career starts, including over course and distance on soft ground last time. He is penalised for that, but looks like there is more to come and he should be right there at the business end. An Accordion was last seen pulling up behind Denman in the Hennessy and has had plenty of problems since winning the William Hill Chase at the 2008 Cheltenham Festival. This is his first ever public run over hurdles, he stays three miles and loves cut in the ground, and if able to reproduce his best chasing form he would probably win. However, there is plenty to prove for him for now. Cappa Bleu was touted as Gold Cup material after winning last year's Cheltenham Foxhunters', and he was a 12/1 chance for the Hennessy, where he was spent when falling on the second circuit. He is of similar ability to An Accordion over fences, but he also has a lot to prove on his first public spin over the smaller obstacles. It's a fascinating race for a number of reasons, but the unexposed Voramar Two is marginally preferred now tried over three miles.
Quentin Collonges (FR) 9-4fav (11-5) Tracked leader, challenge and jumped left 7th, ridden 3 out, led last, driven out, won at Huntingdon 3m 2f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Dec beating Dream Garden (10-12) by 4l, 12 ran.
Valentine Vic (IRE) 5-2 (10-12) Jinked start, made all, driven, edged right approaching last, ridden, stayed on well flat, won at Taunton 3m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec beating Triggerman (10-12) by 6l, 9 ran.
An Accordion (IRE) 28-1 (10-4) Chased leaders until blundered 5th, behind after, tailed off and pulled up 17th, in a race won by Denman (11-12) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Nov, 19 ran.
Bally Sands (IRE) 100-1 (11-7) Chased leaders, weakened after 4 out, struggling in rear when mistake next, tailed off, 8th of 11, 35l behind Reve De Sivola (11-7) at Newbury 2m 5f Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Cappa Bleu (IRE) 12-1 (10-0) Close up until slow jump and lost place 11th, behind when fell 15th, in a race won by Denman (11-12) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Nov, 19 ran.
Classic Eclipse 200-1 (11-3) Led until 3rd, tracked winner until 6th, mistake 8th, soon weakened, tailed off and pulled up after 2 out, in a race won by Giles Cross (11-9) at Exeter 2m 7f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Mar, 10 ran.
Martin Pitchwood 1-4 (12-0) Ap; led aft 3 out; drvn out, won at Cothelstone 3m ptp in May beating Rosetta (11-7) by 7l, 5 ran.
Noble Aran (IRE) 12-1 (11-0) Led to 9th, weakened approaching 3 out, 7th of 11, 49l behind Jau (11-0) at Hereford 2m 6f mdn hdl (4) gd in Nov.
Quiet Bob (IRE) 100-1 (11-2) Chased clear leader to 3rd, mid-division until dropped to rear afte 5th, tailed off, 9th of 13, well behind Wishfull Thinking (11-11) at Taunton 2m 3f nov hdl (3) sft in Jan.
Voramar Two 10-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, went 2nd approaching 3 out, kept on, no chance with winner, 2nd of 16, 7l behind Kerada (10-5) at Huntingdon 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Mangonel 100-1 (10-12) Chased leaders until 5th, soon behind, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Present Gesture (10-12) at Newton Abbot 2m 6f mrs nov hdl (4) gf in Mar, 11 ran.
Moonlight Ruby (IRE) 80-1 (10-5) Held up in touch and keen, ridden after 8th, no impression, 11th of 12, well behind Quentin Collonges (11-5) at Huntingdon 3m 2f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Dec.
Sweet Request 200-1 (10-5) Mid-division, outpaced 4 out, weakened next, tailed off when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Valentine Vic (10-12) at Taunton 3m nh nov hdl (4) sft in Dec, 9 ran.