There is little to choose between Irish challengers Captain Cee Bee and Sizing Europe on their running at Leopardstown in December when the former had every chance until falling at the last and both have solid claims here, but marginal preference is for SOMERSBY. Henrietta Knight's gelding was capable over hurdles, running third in last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle and stepped up on his debut win over fences at Warwick in November when running out the good looking winner of the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown in December on his most recent start. There is probably a lot more to come from the six-year-old over fences and he can win again. Nicky Henderson's Mad Max is a giant of a horse who always looked as though he would do better over fences than over hurdles but he needs to improve on previous form to trouble the judge. Stable companion Riverside Theatre looks to be going the right way but this is tougher than the Grade 2 race that he won at Kempton last time and of more interest may be Sports Line. The Willie Mullins-trained gelding found just one too good in this grade at Leopardstown in January and has to be considered, while Eddie O'Grady's Osana has done little wrong but seems held by Sizing Europe on Leopardstown form in December.
Captain Cee Bee (IRE) 4-11fav (11-6) Tracked leader in 2nd, improved to lead travelling well approaching 2 out, soon clear, slight mistake last, not fully extended, very easily, won at Naas 2m nov stks hvy in Feb beating Fosters Cross (11-6) by 13l, 5 ran.
Fosters Cross (IRE) 6-1 (11-6) Led, headed approaching 2 out, soon ridden and no impression, 2nd of 5, 13l behind Captain Cee Bee (11-6) at Naas 2m nov stks hvy in Feb.
Kangaroo Court (IRE) Evensfav (11-8) Held up in 3rd after 2nd, closed 3 out, led soon after 2 out, quickened and clear from last, won at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov chs (3) gf in Oct beating Red Admiral (11-12) by 4l, 4 ran.
Mad Max (IRE) 6-4fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 3rd, challenged 7th, ridden and lost 2nd after 3 out, unable to quicken with front pair, beaten last, 3rd of 5, 4 1/2l behind Woolcombe Folly (11-0) at Doncaster 2m nov chs Grd 2 (1) gs in Feb.
Osana (FR) 11-10fav (11-4) Close up and disputed lead, definite advantage from after 5 out, strongly pressed from 3 out, headed approaching last, kept on same pace under pressure, 3rd of 6, 2l behind Shakervilz (11-4) at Navan 2m nov chs Grd 2 sft in Feb.
Quiscover Fontaine (FR) 6-5fav (11-9) Tracked leader, jumped well, led approaching 2 out where left clear, stayed on strongly from before last, won at Clonmel 2m 1f chs sft in Feb beating Swift Counsel (11-12) by 17l, 6 ran.
Riverside Theatre 1-2fav (11-8) Mostly jumped well, tracked leading pair, led 4 out, slight mistake 3 out, clear well before last, eased near finish, won at Kempton 2m nov chs Grade 2 4yo+ (1) gs in Dec beating El Dancer (11-2) by 12l, 5 ran.
Sizing Europe (IRE) Evensfav (11-12) Tracked leader in 2nd, slow jump 4th, challenged and disputed lead 2 out, led before straight, strongly pressed and joined before last where left clear, stayed on well, won at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) in Dec beating Osana (11-12) by 6l, 6 ran.
Somersby (IRE) 7-2 (11-2) Tracked clear leader, took closer order 4 out, every chance from 3 out, led just after last, edged right, ridden out and ran on well (no time taken), won at Sandown 2m nov chs Grade 2 4yo+ (1) sft in Dec beating Crack Away Jack (11-2) by 2 3/4l, 4 ran.
Sports Line (IRE) 2-1fav (11-12) Close up in 3rd, improved to lead 3 out, edged clear after 2 out, strongly pressed after last, headed inside final furlong, kept on same pace under pressure, 2nd of 7, 1 1/4l behind An Cathaoir Mor (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs G1 hvy in Jan.
Woolcombe Folly (IRE) 7-2 (11-0) Held up in 4th, went 3rd approaching 7th, went 2nd after 3 out, ridden and edged left before last, stayed on under strong pressure to lead post, won at Doncaster 2m nov chs Grd 2 (1) gs in Feb beating I'm Delilah (10-11) by ns, 5 ran.
I'm Delilah 4-1 (10-11) Led, mistake 1st, ridden approaching 2 out, stayed on gamely flat, headed post, 2nd of 5, ns behind Woolcombe Folly (11-0) at Doncaster 2m nov chs Grd 2 (1) gs in Feb.