Balthazar King halted Ireland's domination of this cross-country race 12 months ago but the status quo should be restored this year as the home team are significantly outnumbered. Arabella Boy's race at Punchestown early last month may well be the key to this. Enda Bolger's charge beat Big Shu, Uncle Junior, Shakervilz and BOSTONS ANGEL with Sizing Australia, winner of this on much faster ground in 2011, a faller. On better terms with most of his rivals, you'd expect Arabella Boy to come out on top again but he has still to really to prove he stays this far whereas Jessica Harrington's nine-year-old, who gets the nod, was an excellent second over course and distance behind Outlaw Pete earlier and is now 15lb better off with that one. He should confirm that running with third Leac An Scail and fourth Double Dizzy while Shakervilz and A New Story were further back. Uncle Junior and Arabella Boy both failed to complete. Wedger Pardy has run well here in the past but needs faster going and Freneys Well is now a 13-year-old. Any Currency could be interesting if taking to these unique fences, however, as he's fairly handicapped and stays well as he proved when third in last year's Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
Uncle Junior (IRE) 5-2fav (12-0) Held up towards rear, headway into 8th 4 out, ridden in 6th and no impression before 2 out, kept on one pace, 4th of 15, 22l behind Arabella Boy (12-0) at Punchestown 3m crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Feb.
Outlaw Pete (IRE) 11-4fav (10-7) Held up behind leaders, 5th halfway, ridden in 4th and no impression 3 out, kept on one pace to moderate 3rd last, 3rd of 8, 10l behind Jolily (10-3) at Thurles 3m hcp chs 0-130 hvy in Feb.
Bostons Angel (IRE) 4-1 (12-0) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, 7th 4 out, soon ridden, no extra before 2 out, 6th of 15, 40l behind Arabella Boy (12-0) at Punchestown 3m crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Feb.
Sizing Australia (IRE) 16-1 (11-11) Mid-division, headway into 5th 4 out, ridden and no impression before 2 out where fell, in a race won by Arabella Boy (12-0) at Punchestown 3m crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Feb, 15 ran.
Arabella Boy (IRE) 9-2 (12-0) Chased leaders, 4th halfway, 2nd from 15th, improved to lead 4 out, ridden and challenged 2 out, asserted before last where slightly slow jump and pressed, kept on well run-in, won at Punchestown 3m crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Feb beating Big Shu (11-11) by 1l, 15 ran.
Passato (GER) 66-1 (11-8) Led narrowly, driven and headed 3 out, soon ridden, weakened before last, 6th of 10, 27l behind At Fishers Cross (10-10) at Newbury 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-150 (2) sft in Dec.
Saddlers Storm (IRE) 66-1 (10-7) Always towards rear, never a factor, trailing from 3 out, 12th of 14, well behind Fosters Cross (11-0) at Leopardstown 2m 2f hdl sft.
Big Shu (IRE) 25-1 (11-11) Mid-division early, soon chased leaders, 5th halfway, headway into 3rd 4 out, ridden 2 out, stayed on to press winner last, no extra run-in, kept on same pace, 2nd of 15, 1l behind Arabella Boy (12-0) at Punchestown 3m crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Feb.
A New Story (IRE) 16-1 (11-5) Rear of mid-division, ridden in 7th approaching straight and some headway in 6th 2 out, soon no impression and kept on one pace, 6th of 14, 17l behind Fiery Oscar (12-1) at Clonmel 2m Amateur Handicap Hurdle (80-95) (5yo+) in Feb.
Any Currency (IRE) 15-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders, reminders before 8th, pushed along before 16th, outpaced 18th, plugged on from 2 out, no impression, 4th of 14, 9l behind Chac Du Cadran (10-7) at Catterick 3m 6f hcp chs 0-135 (3) sft in Jan.
Freneys Well 12-1 (11-11) Chased leaders in 6th, mistake 9th, 5th approaching 4 out and no impression early straight, no extra, 7th of 13, 39l behind Equus Maximus (11-7) at Thurles 3m hts chs hvy in Jan.
Shakervilz (FR) 14-1 (11-11) Held up towards rear, 11th 4 out, no impression in moderate 8th before 2 out, kept on one pace, 5th of 15, 38l behind Arabella Boy (12-0) at Punchestown 3m crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Feb.
Leac An Scail (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) Led 1st, headed 4th, led after 6th, headed before 4 out, soon outpaced, rallied approaching next, led 2 out, headed before last, soon led again, headed flat, held towards finish, 2nd of 7, 1 3/4l behind Forty Crown (11-7) at Wetherby 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-115 (4) sft in Feb.
Sacree Tiepy (FR) 13-2 (10-5) 2nd of 8, 2 1/2l behind Toutancarmont (11-0) at Pau(FR) 3m 1f Cross Country Chase sft in Feb.
Wedger Pardy (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Led after 1st, headed 14th, led again 18th to 21st, chased leaders until weakened 6 out, tailed off, 9th of 16, well behind Uncle Junior (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m 7f crs cntry chs (5yo+) (2) gs in Nov.
Double Dizzy 12-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, mistake 2nd, lost place 6th, behind 12th, pecked 17th, plugged on from 3 out, went 4th before last, no impression, 4th of 8, 29l behind Gwanako (11-12) at Sandown 3m am chs 0-130 (3) sft in Feb.