A tremendous race in prospect here and AL EILE can take this for the fourth time in five seasons, while Celestial Halo is likely to be his strongest challenger. John Queally has done a tremendous job with Al Eile, who was off the track from winning last year's renewal until scoring over 1m 4f at Dundalk in February. Preparations have been exactly the same as last year, he is a top class horse and he seems to be at least half a stone better around here, so we will not oppose. Ruby Walsh was self critical after Celestial Halo was run out of it by Punjabi in the Champion Hurdle, saying that he should have backed the gelding's stamina and kicked on at the top of the hill. He is another genuine top class runner here and there is every chance he will stay on this flat track, so he has to be very much respected. Edward O'Grady has placed the talented Catch Me to win four off the reel on soft and heavy ground this season. He has a stone or so to find on the book, but he will appreciate the strong pace here and if he acts on the ground then we will truly find out how good he is. Last year's Ballymore Properties Hurdle winner Fiveforthree is another who would prefer cut, but he acts on good and he has been trained with this in mind since making the frame in two tough races at Punchestown last year. A facile Wexford success should have him spot on and he is not ruled out. Last year's champion Katchit ran with plenty of credit despite not being able to successfully defend his crown. He has course form to his name but does have stamina to prove. Hills Of Aran would be respected if taking his chance after a run here on Thursday, and Snap Tie cannot be ruled out of the money with his yard flying. Al Eile can win it again.
Al Eile (IRE) 11-4fav (11-7) In touch, tracked leaders 7th, led 2 out, readily, won at Aintree 2m 4f hdl G1 (1) gd in Apr '08 beating Osana (11-7) by 10l, 9 ran.
Blue Bajan (IRE) 80-1 (11-10) Sweating, held up in rear, not fluent 1st, mistake 3rd, struggling approaching 3 out, never dangerous, 13th of 23, 28l behind Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Catch Me (GER) 4-9fav (11-10) Held up, 5th halfway, headway in 3rd before straight, 2nd 3 out, improved to challenge 2 out, led and eased clear from before last, not extended, won at Navan 2m 5f hdl G2 hvy in Feb beating Oscar Rebel (11-3) by 11l, 6 ran.
Celestial Halo (IRE) 17-2 (11-10) Always prominent, narrow lead before 3 out, ridden and pressed after 2 out, headed last, ran on towards finish, 2nd of 23, nk behind Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Cybergenic (FR) 16-1 (11-12) In touch, outpaced 4 out, took modest 3rd next, 3rd of 5, 13l behind Prince Taime (11-1) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-145 (2) gd in Mar.
Fiveforthree (IRE) 4-9fav (11-12) 3rd early, 2nd from 4th, disputed lead from 5 out, led 3 out, soon clear, stayed on strongly from last, not extended, won at Wexford 2m hdl gs in Mar beating Splurge (11-12) by 7l, 7 ran.
Franchoek (IRE) 16-1 (11-4) In touch until 6th, soon in rear, 15th of 27, 41l behind Ninetieth Minute (10-3) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl G3 (1) gs in Mar.
Hardy Eustace (IRE) 100-1 (11-10) Prominent, led after 5th, narrowly headed before 3 out, bumped 2 out, weakening when hampered soon after, 9th of 23, 18l behind Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Hills Of Aran 16-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, took closer order 9th, ridden approaching 3 out, soon weakened, 6th of 10, 31l behind Big Buck's (11-10) at Aintree 3m hdl G2 (1) gd.
Jered (IRE) 33-1 (11-10) Towards rear, mistakes 1st and 2nd, slightly hampered 3 out, ran on flat, never in contention, 8th of 23, 17l behind Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Katchit (IRE) 12-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, pushed along 4th, outpaced after next, stayed on approaching last, drifted left and kept on flat, 6th of 23, 6l behind Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Othermix (FR) 100-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, raced keenly, pushed along before 5th, weakening when fell 3 out, in a race won by Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar, 23 ran.
Snap Tie (IRE) 40-1 (11-10) Held up towards rear, headway 5th, beaten when not much room after 2 out, weakened approaching last, 7th of 23, 14l behind Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Solwhit (FR) 11-10fav (11-6) Chased leaders, raced wide in back straight, closer in 3rd before 3 out, 2nd and challenged from next, soon in front and quickly clear, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Gowran Park 2m hdl G2 hvy in Feb beating Jazz Messenger (11-12) by 3 1/2l, 6 ran.
Songe (FR) 6-1 (11-11) Held up last, ridden 6th, soon weakened, beaten when mistake 2 out, last of 9, 35l behind Ashkazar (11-7) at Wincanton 2m hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb.
United (GER) 10-3 (11-5) Prominent, led 2 out, soon headed, outpaced by winner before last, soon no chance, just held on for 2nd, 2nd of 21, 14l behind Quevega (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) gs in Mar.
Whiteoak (IRE) 16-1 (11-3) Held up towards rear, mistakes 2nd and 3rd, ridden and some headway before 3 out, no further progress, 12th of 23, 25l behind Punjabi (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.