Willie Mullins, trainer of FAUGHEEN, should know where he stands against Red Sherlock as the stable's Rathvinden, who also lines up for this, was second to David Pipe's unbeaten gelding over the course and distance in January. Ruby Walsh's mount is held in very high regard and can get the Irish off to a flying start on day two in a race in which Royal Boy looks to be the only other with a realistic chance. He's one of three trained by Nicky Henderson and has done very little wrong since reverting to hurdles, beating a subsequent winner at Ascot in December and following up over 2m at Kempton - the yard won this in 2012. Lieutenant Colonel might be suited by the step up in distance and could be the pick of the remainder ahead of Ballyalton, a little disappointing when only fourth here last time.
Ballyalton (IRE) 3-1 (11-12) Held up in last, closed from after 3 out, every chance approaching last, no extra inside final 100 yards, 4th of 6, 9l behind Aubusson (11-1) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nh nov hdl (3) sft in Jan.
Cocktails At Dawn 5-1 (10-12) Stood at start for 20 seconds before getting going, held up in touch, not fluent 2nd, headway 3 out, challenged 2 out, unable to quicken before last, well held by front pair flat, 3rd of 9, 9l behind Ballyalton (11-8) at Cheltenham 2m 1f NH nov hdl 4-6yo (3) gd in Dec.
Cole Harden (IRE) 11-4 (11-8) Kept wide, led, went left 3rd, not fluent 7th, headed after 3 out, soon no chance with winner, 2nd of 4, 16l behind Un Temps Pour Tout (11-8) at Ascot 2m 3f nov hdl (2) hvy in Feb.
Creepy (IRE) 14-1 (11-12) Led or disputed lead on outside until ridden and lost place after 3 out, weakened next, tailed off, 5th of 6, dis behind Red Sherlock (11-9) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Cup Final (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Took keen hold early, held up in 5th, pushed along before 2 out, stayed on same pace and went modest 3rd flat, 3rd of 7, 10l behind Irving (11-9) at Kempton 2m nov hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb.
Faugheen (IRE) 8-13fav (11-3) Made all, not fluent 6 out and next 2, went clear from before straight travelling smoothly, stayed on well, easily,, won at Limerick 3m nov hdl Grd 3 (1) hvy in Dec beating The Job Is Right (11-6) by 5l, 7 ran.
Fennell Bay (IRE) 8-11fav (11-11) Led, headed before 2nd, tracked leaders in 3rd, led before 3 out, kept on well from last, won at Musselburgh 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Feb beating Ollie G (11-4) by 5l, 7 ran.
Killala Quay 9-2 (11-7) Tracked leaders, pushed along after 6th, lost place before next, soon behind, pulled up after, in a race won by Deputy Dan (11-4) at Warwick 2m 5f nov hdl Grade 2 (1) hvy in Jan, 8 ran.
Knock House (IRE) 7-2 (11-8) Led, hit 2nd, not fluent 6th, headed 4 out, chased winner and stayed challenging, well held soon after 2 out, 2nd of 7, 4l behind Champagne West (11-12) at Ascot 2m 6f NH nov hdl (4-7yo) (3) hvy in Jan.
Lieutenant Colonel 5-4fav (11-8) Chased leader, 2nd halfway, led after 2 out, ridden and headed before last, no extra run-in, kept on same pace, 2nd of 5, 4 1/2l behind Wicklow Brave (11-8) at Punchestown 2m lst nov hdl (4yo+) (1) hvy in Feb.
Midnight Thunder (IRE) 6-4fav (10-10) Led, clear 3 out until ridden before 2 out where not fluent, no extra flat, 3rd of 6, 9l behind Keel Haul (11-1) at Wincanton 2m (3) hvy in Feb.
Rathvinden (IRE) 6-4fav (11-12) Held up behind in touch, smooth headway on outside after 3 out, swithched inside and every chance approaching last, soon ridden, kept on, held final 110 yards, 2nd of 6, 2 1/2l behind Red Sherlock (11-9) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Red Sherlock 9-4 (11-9) Tracked leaders, headway after 3 out, led after next, ridden before last, stayed on well under pressure flat, won at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Jan beating Rathvinden (11-12) by 2 1/2l, 6 ran.
Royal Boy (FR) 9-1 (11-7) Tracked leader until 4th, handy 3rd, raced wide on back straight, led before 2 out, joined 2 out, narrowly headed last, hard driven run in, stayed on gamely to regain lead final 50 yards, won at Kempton 2m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) sft in Jan beating Josses Hill (11-7) by 1/2l, 6 ran.
Shanahan's Turn (IRE) 2-1fav (11-12) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, improved to challenge 2 out, soon led travelling well, ridden before last, kept on well run-in, won at Leopardstown 2m 4f mdn hdl sft in Dec beating Blue Bicycle (11-12) by 5l, 7 ran.
Twelve Roses 5-2fav (11-12) Held up towards rear, headway halfway, soon chasing leaders, every chance after 3 out, weakened quickly next, tailed off, 9th of 12, well behind Junction Fourteen (11-3) at Kempton 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) sft in Dec.