Burton Port was a high-class chaser at his peak for Nicky Henderson, finding only Long Run too strong on 2011/12 return in Newbury Grade 2. Sidelined with tendon injury since April 2012, so hard to assess back hurdling.
Lovcen progressed well over hurdles last season, winning Grade 1 novice over C&D. Chase career quickly aborted after 2 runs around the turn of 2013 and absent since a tame effort over timber soon after.
First Fandango quickly matched useful hurdles form over fences, winning Fakenham maiden in November. Busy spell perhaps caught up with him at Haydock when last seen in May, but will be fresher now.
Gauvain was a high-class chaser at best. Generally struggled last year and unable to take advantage of much-reduced hurdles marks twice this autumn, though he did shape better than result last time.
Ely Brown improved performer for this yard, winning first of 2 Pertemps qualifiers last season in this corresponding race. Sixth in the final at the Festival, and returns with yard in terrific form.
Alpha Victor is lightly raced but a 3-time winning hurdler at up to 3m, progressing again for latest of them at Haydock in December. Didn't take to chasing when last seen in February, and this mark demands more.
Orsippus was a Grade 1 juvenile winner here in 2010, and scored from a reduced mark at Ayr (21f) in April. Shaped as if still in good form at Haydock (3m) the following month, but below par on the level since.
Malin Bay got back to his best when scoring over 3m at Perth in July, and has matched that form on 2 of 3 starts since, but the handicapper looks in charge now.
1. Ely Brown
2. Burton Port
Timeform Verdict: With Lovcen and especially Burton Port hard to assess at present, last year's winner Ely Brown looks the percentage call on reappearance for the bang in-form Longsdon team.
Timeform Breeders' Cup Guide - Available Tue 29 Oct!