Unconvincing wins against minor opposition over the larger obstacles suggest former champion hurdler Rock On Ruby represents little value in this. His jumping has hardly been foot-perfect so far and only two nine-year-olds have won the Arkle Trophy since the Second World War. Winning form at The Festival is always a plus so last year's Supreme Novices' winner Champagne Fever shouldn't be ignored but we can't see any reason why the grey should reverse Leopardstown running with TRIFOLIUM on identical terms. Charles Byrnes' gelding was hugely impressive when ridden more aggressively at the same track next time, reversing form with Defy Logic and earlier Navan running with Felix Younger, who declines a re-match. If he takes to these fences, he'll take all the beating. Valdez probably needs more in this grade and the company looks too hot for Brick Red while Western Warhorse probably needs further and may get outpaced on the drying ground. But Dodging Bullets should confirm Kempton running with the disappointing Grandouet and lost nothing in defeat in the Game Spirit last time.
Brick Red 5-2 (11-4) Tracked leaders in 4th, went 2nd 6 out, kept on and always held by winner, 2nd of 5, 3 1/2l behind Balder Succes (11-7) at Warwick 2m nov chs G2 (1) hvy in Feb.
Champagne Fever (IRE) 8-15fav (11-12) Prominent and disputed lead, blundered and headed 2 out, no impression on winner early straight and dropped to 3rd at last, no extra run-in,, 3rd of 6, 15l behind Defy Logic (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
Dodging Bullets 2-1 (11-5) Took keen hold, tracked leader until 5th, tracked leading pair, went 2nd 2 out, led narrowly last, hard driven flat, headed and no extra final 100 yards, 2nd of 4, nk behind Module (11-2) at Newbury 2m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) hvy in Feb.
Grandouet (FR) 1-2fav (11-2) Not always fluent and sometimes jumped left, raced keenly, led, headed before 3 out, mistake 3 out, no chance with winner, clear 2nd, 2nd of 5, 10l behind Dodging Bullets (11-8) at Kempton 2m nov chs Grade 2 (1) sft in Dec.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 2-7fav (11-7) Made all, shaken up before last, kept on well, pushed out, won at Doncaster 2m nov chs (3) gs in Feb beating Mr Mole (11-7) by 10l, 2 ran.
Ted Veale (IRE) 25-1 (11-12) Towards rear, struggling from 4 out, went moderate 4th at last, kept on same pace run-in, 4th of 7, 31l behind Trifolium (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs G1 (1) hvy in Jan.
Trifolium (FR) 7-1 (11-12) Chased leader in 2nd, led 3 out, clear from next, jumped slightly left last, ridden out run-in, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs G1 (1) hvy in Jan beating Felix Yonger (11-12) by 9l, 7 ran.
Valdez 15-8fav (11-4) In rear, mistake 1st, went 2nd before 4 out, ridden before 3 out, led run-in, driven out, won at Doncaster 2m nov chs G2 (1) gs in Jan beating Arnaud (11-4) by 3 1/2l, 5 ran.
Western Warhorse (IRE) 2-1 (10-12) won at Doncaster 2m 3f nov chs (3) gs in Jan beating Victor Hewgo (10-12) by nk, 5 ran.