Barton Stacey hasn't run over fences since scoring at Stratford in May but did win over hurdles at Fontwell earlier this month when Victor Leudorum, now a pound worse off, was well beaten. He has to go on the short-list as does last month's Newton Abbot winner Porters War. My Lad Percy still has a bit to prove over the larger obstacles, however, while Trafalgar has a long absence to overcome but Johnny's Way is a previous course and distance winner who hasn't been disgraced back under Rules lately. FOREVER MY FRIEND turned in a shocker at Bangor last time but is weighted to reverse earlier running with Porters War and goes well here - he's given another chance.
Victor Leudorum (IRE) 13-2 (11-1) In touch, ridden after 3 out, soon weakened, 7th of 10, 36l behind Barton Stacey (11-9) at Fontwell 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gf.
Barton Stacey (IRE) 11-2 (11-9) Tracked leaders in 3rd, led before 2 out, kept on well, won at Fontwell 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gf beating Halling's Wish (11-8) by 5l, 10 ran.
Trafalgar (FR) 3-1fav (11-11) Prominent, slow 1st, mistake 11th, driven to challenge 4 out, stayed on same pace approaching last, 5th of 9, 6l behind Samingarry (10-13) at Exeter 3m hcp chs 0-125 (3) gd in Nov.
Johnny's Way 5-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, not much room 5th, went 2nd 6th until not fluent 12th, led after next, headed 4 out, one pace last, 4th of 7, 11l behind Foundry Square (11-6) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Jul.
Porters War (IRE) 7-1 (11-2) Led until 4th, in touch, ridden 11th, outpaced 3 out, rallied 2 out, stayed on to lead last strides, won at Newton Abbot 2m 5f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gf in Jul beating Falcarragh (11-12) by hd, 8 ran.
Forever My Friend (IRE) 4-1 (11-12) Held up in touch, effort 4 out, soon driven, weakening when jumped right 2 out, 5th of 7, well behind Western King (11-10) at Bangor 3m hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd.
My Lad Percy 4-1 (11-2) Mid-division, outpaced 4 out, no chance with leaders, plugged on to take moderate 3rd approaching last, 3rd of 11, 16l behind Midnight Oscar (11-7) at Uttoxeter 3m hcp hdl 0-120 (4) gd in Jul.