Gullible Gordon had a run under his belt and was racing off a 6lb lower mark when winning last year's renewal while Ballycarney hasn't been seen at the track for over a year now, though he beat today's rival Templer at Chepstow last October. The latter returned to action in August with a win at Ffos Las, but he has plenty to find on latest running with ETHIOPIA. Bob Buckler's chaser has looked an improved performer in a couple of starts this month, winning at Chepstow and posting another good effort when third at Cheltenham last week. He's preferred to stablemate Cullahill and gets the vote ahead of Ballyvesey, who finished second at Uttoxeter in June and should be winning soon off his current mark.
Gullible Gordon (IRE) 12-1 (10-11) Mid-division, chased leaders 26th, outpaced 2 out, soon weakened, 9th of 15, 29l behind Sizing Australia (10-9) at Cheltenham 3m 7f hcp chs (2) gd in Mar.
Ballycarney (IRE) 8-1 (10-10) Led until mistake and headed 3rd, chased leader until 8th, stayed close up, 2nd again after 10th, led after 13th, hit 3 out, 2 lengths ahead when blundered last, stayed on gamely flat, won at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gs in Oct '10 beating Templer (10-9) by 1 1/4l, 11 ran.
Templer (IRE) 15-2 (11-2) Mid-division, driven after 13th, weakened from 4 out, 6th of 13, 14l behind Ethiopia (9-7) at Chepstow 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gd.
Intac (IRE) 16-1 (11-3) Mid-division, lost place after 4th, last when not fluent next, behind 7th, tailed off, 10th of 14, 50l behind Rio Gael (10-9) at Fontwell 2m 2f hcp chs 0-140 (2) gd in Sep.
Frosted Grape (IRE) 12-1 (10-6) Held up behind leaders, jumped slowly and ridden 14th, outpaced before 4 out, no impression after, left 4th 2 out, 4th of 6, 25l behind Balthazar King (10-12) at Cheltenham 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gf.
Ballyvesey (IRE) 9-1 (10-8) Chased leaders, led 13th, pressed from before 2 out, headed last, kept on, no chance with winner, 2nd of 17, 8l behind Knighton Combe (10-6) at Uttoxeter 3m 4f lstd hcp chs (1) gd in Jun.
Drybrook Bedouin 18-1 (10-0) Held up towards rear, headway into 12th after 5 out, ridden in 10th 4 out, no extra and weakened, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Uncle Junior (11-0) at Punchestown 3m 6f hcp chs 0-140 gd in May, 25 ran.
Gone To Lunch (IRE) 11-1 (10-9) Chased leaders, reminders after 8th and 10th, soon pushed along in mid-division, tailed off when pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Knighton Combe (10-6) at Uttoxeter 3m 4f lstd hcp chs (1) gd in Jun, 17 ran.
Ethiopia 13-2 (9-7) Tracked winner until 3rd and again from 7th, mistake 4 out, mistake next, soon outpaced by leaders and beaten, left 3rd 2 out, 3rd of 6, 13l behind Balthazar King (10-12) at Cheltenham 3m hcp chs 0-150 (2) gf.
Cullahill (IRE) 9-2 (11-6) Tracked leader until 15th, lost place next, weakened approaching 3 out, 6th of 7, 31l behind Iheardu (10-10) at Cheltenham 3m am hcp chs 0-125 (3) gf.
Fortification (USA) 10-1 (11-1) Reluctant to race and detaced until 2nd, never looked particulary happy, mistake 7th, lost touch after jumping slowly 9th, tailed off, 8th of 9, well behind Whispering Jack (11-7) at Ludlow 3m hcp hdl 0-110 (4) gd in Mar.