Benefficient beat Dynaste fair and square in a Grade 2 novices' contest over track and trip at last year's Festival and came right back to form in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas when beating Hidden Cyclone. He's a tough campaigner and Tony Martin will have him ready for this. Dynaste was very disappointing in the King George last time and finished a long way behind AL FEROF. The latter clearly didn't get home over 3m at Newbury next time so it's no surprise to see him dropped in distance here and, as a former Festival winner, he gets the nod to come out on top today. Rathlin beat Hidden Cyclone at Galway last summer but was beaten out of sight last time but a fully-fit Menorah would be a threat to all and he makes more appeal than Boston Bob, Hunt Ball and Rajdhani Express, who simply don't look good enough.
Al Ferof (FR) 5-4fav (11-10) Tracked leading trio, went 3rd 11th, went 2nd after 12th (3 out), ridden and beaten on long run to next, 2nd of 5, 25l behind Harry Topper (11-10) at Newbury 3m chs Grd 2 (1) hvy in Feb.
Benefficient (IRE) 9-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, closer order 6 out, 4th before straight, gained narrow lead last, drifted left run-in, stayed on well under pressure, reduced lead but holding on close home, won at Leopardstown 2m 1f chs G1 (1) sft in Dec beating Hidden Cyclone (11-12) by 3/4l, 7 ran.
Boston Bob (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Held up in last pair, headway after 3 out, close up next, driven and one pace approaching last, weakened and eased soon after, last of 6, 50l behind Knockara Beau (11-0) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Cantlow (IRE) 16-1 (11-5) Towards rear, fell 10th, in a race won by Holywell (11-6) at Cheltenham 3m hcp chs G3 (1) gs, 23 ran.
Dynaste (FR) 10-3fav (11-10) Mid-division, headway 12th, soon chasing leaders, hit 5 out, soon weakened, 5th of 9, 47l behind Silviniaco Conti (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
Hidden Cyclone (IRE) 4-1 (11-7) Led until before 2nd, chased leader, not fluent 8th, joined when not fluent 3 out, chased winner before 2 out, ridden and no chance soon after, kept on for clear 2nd, 2nd of 7, 11l behind Sire De Grugy (11-7) at Ascot 2m 1f chs G1 (1) hvy in Jan.
Hunt Ball (IRE) 20-1 (11-7) Mid-division, lost place when not fluent 3rd, hit 9th, closed after 11th, outpaced from 4 out, no impression after hung right before 2 out, plugged on into 3rd last, 3rd of 8, 31l behind Captain Chris (11-7) at Ascot 2m 5f chs G1 (1) sft in Feb.
Kauto Stone (FR) 16-1 (11-7) Led, not fluent 8th, headed 4 out, weakened 2 out, 5th of 8, 37l behind Captain Chris (11-7) at Ascot 2m 5f chs G1 (1) sft in Feb.
Medermit (FR) 12-1 (11-7) Held up in rear, not fluent 6th, pushed along 12th, struggling 13th, 5th and well held before 2 out, went 4th latter stages, 4th of 8, 35l behind Captain Chris (11-7) at Ascot 2m 5f chs G1 (1) sft in Feb.
Menorah (IRE) 16-1 (11-10) Held up in rear, mistake 8th, under pressure 5 out, soon no impression, behind when pulled up 3 out, in a race won by Silviniaco Conti (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec, 9 ran.
Rajdhani Express 8-1 (10-13) In touch, driven to chase leaders after 3 out, kept on same pace from next, no impression, 5th of 20, 9l behind Johns Spirit (10-2) at Cheltenham 2m 4f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov.
Rathlin 10-1 (11-10) Held up in 3rd, slight mistake 8th, 4th before 3 out where ridden, kept on one pace, moderate 3rd last, just held 3rd at line, 3rd of 4, 28l behind Arvika Ligeonniere (11-12) at Punchestown 2m chs G2 (1) hvy in Feb.