1. Ballyoptic (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies)
Won handicap at Chepstow in October and Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby (by three and three-quarter lengths from Elegant Escape) in November. Well below form in Betfair Chase at Haydock and Becher Chase at Aintree (probably found race coming too soon) since. Also entered in Grand National Trial at Haydock which he ran in 12 months ago.
2. Valtor (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob)
Made winning return over hurdles in novice here (by two lengths from Redford Road) in November, and far from disgraced back over fences when seven lengths third to Yala Enki in minor event at Taunton last time, no extra late on after bad mistake five out. Just 2 lb higher than when winning Silver Cup over C&D last season so has to be high on the shortlist.
3. Domaine de l'Isle (Sean Curran/Brian Hughes)
Thriving all of a sudden, completing hat-trick in bet365 Handicap Chase here (21f, by neck from Bennys King, staying on to lead final 50 yards) last time. Plenty to like about the manner of that success with a view to moving back up in trip, and this progressive sort can't be ruled out following a 6 lb rise in the weights.
4. Regal Encore (Anthony Honeyball/Richie McLernon)
Hard to catch right but normally saves his best for this track, as he showed when winning 10-runner Silver Cup over C&D for the second year running. A 4 lb rise looks fair and he holds claims again if on a going day.
5. Red Indian (Kelly Morgan/Ben Jones (3))
Won novice at Ayr on return last season, and was well backed on first start this term when 14 and a half lengths fifth to Vintage Clouds in Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock last time, shaping better than distance beaten suggests, finding test too much. Still lightly raced over fences and one to consider.
6. Captain Drake (Harry Fry/Sean Bowen)
Won 10-runner handicap at Exeter (by five and a half lengths from The Kings Writ, asserting before last and staying on well) last time. Still unexposed over fences, but 13 lb rise in the weight demands more improvement. Also in Reynoldstown, but this looks more realistic option.
7. Like The Sound (Charlie Mann/Paddy Brennan)
Won handicaps at Wincanton and Taunton last season, and put up best effort this term when good five and a quarter lengths third to Doing Fine in similar event at Cheltenham last time, keeping on after headed before last. Consistency not his strong point, though.
8. Jepeck (Anthony Honeyball/Rex Dingle (3))
Connections seemingly protected his mark by running over hurdles (won novices at Bangor and Chepstow) first three starts this season, and he proved as good as ever returned to fences to win Veterans' Handicap Chase Final at Sandown (by short head from Regal Flow, nearly carried out approaching last and edging ahead again close home) last time. On career-high mark now and up against some less-exposed types, but can't be dismissed in current heart.