Willie Mullins, who has won this twice in the past three years, can complete an opening race double with SO YOUNG. Three times a winner of French bumpers, he's hardly been out of a canter to win his two starts in Ireland and though the ground will be quicker than he's faced before he's a nice-actioned type who should handle the conditions. Compatriot Oscars Well has been all the rage for this since his pair of Grade 1 victories at Navan and Leopardstown and rightly so. Jessica Harrington's charge is improving at a rate of knots and the only downside is that he flopped on good going at Punchestown last April. Nicky Henderson has a shocking record in the race but there's no doubt that Minella Class deserves his place as he was conceding Aikman 8lb when just beaten in a falsely-run race at Huntingdon and can take his revenge. Rock On Ruby had Habbie Simpson just behind when they occupied the places in the race won by Bobs Worth here in January and that looked a very strong event at the time. First Lieutenant is a horse with a big future and there was plenty to admire about his defeat of Zaidpour in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown, though that was run on very testing ground.
Accordintolawrence (IRE) 7-1 (11-2) Chased leading trio, left close 3rd 2 out, challenging when hampered on rail and switched left before last, led and hung right flat, stayed on well and in command, driven out, won at Fontwell 2m 2f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Jan beating Cottage Acre (11-5) by 2 1/4l, 14 ran.
Aikman (IRE) 16-1 (11-3) Allowed clear lead to 4th, made all, joined 3 out, hard pressed next, narrow advantage when not fluent last, driven and stayed on gamely flat, won at Huntingdon 2m 4f nh nov hdl (2) sft in Feb beating Minella Class (11-11) by 3l, 5 ran.
First Lieutenant (IRE) 16-1 (11-10) Tracked leader in 2nd, took closer order approaching 2 out, soon ridden to challenge, led last, kept on well under pressure, all out, won at Leopardstown 2m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) hvy in Dec beating Zaidpour (11-7) by 1/2l, 5 ran.
Habbie Simpson 9-1 (11-9) In touch on inside, headway from 3 out, chased leaders and hit 2 out, stayed on to well held 3rd flat, never any chance with leading duo, 3rd of 10, 11l behind Bobs Worth (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Jan.
Highland Valley (IRE) Evensfav (11-11) Always prominent, led approaching 3 out, soon strongly challenged, hard ridden last, stayed on well under pressure, won at Exeter 2m 3f nov hdl (4) sft in Feb beating Araldur (11-4) by 2l, 14 ran.
Megastar 4-11fav (11-9) Pulled hard, chased leader, led 3rd, hit 5th, still keen when hit next, ridden and joined 2 out, soon headed, no chance with winner when dropped to 3rd last, kept trying and pressed for 2nd close home, 3rd of 5, 7l behind Topolski (11-2) at Sandown 2m nh nov hdl (4) gs in Feb.
Minella Class (IRE) 8-11fav (11-11) Raced wide, tracked clear leader and winner, close up 4th, effort to challenge 2 out, every chance when not fluent last, driven and no extra flat, 2nd of 5, 3l behind Aikman (11-3) at Huntingdon 2m 4f nh nov hdl (2) sft in Feb.
Ohio Gold (IRE) 33-1 (11-5) Led, hit 3rd, headed next, stayed front rank, hit 7th, weakened and mistake 3 out, 6th of 10, 22l behind Bobs Worth (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Jan.
Oscars Well (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Held up early, 5th halfway, 6th after 3 out, 4th travelling well after 2 out, improved to lead before last, ridden clear, easily, won at Leopardstown 2m 2f nov hdl G2 (1) hvy in Feb beating Zaidpour (11-9) by 6l, 10 ran.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 6-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, steady headway approaching 6th, chased leaders and hit 2 out, chased winner approaching last, every chance when hung left under pressure flat, no extra and held when rider dropped whip final 110 yards, 2nd of 10, 2 1/4l behind Bobs Worth (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Jan.
So Young (FR) 1-6fav (11-11) Tracked leader in 2nd, poised to challenge entering straight, led just before last, stretched clear run-in, not extended, impressive, won at Punchestown 2m nov hdl hvy in Feb beating Big Game Hunter (11-11) by 5l, 6 ran.
Tornado Bob (IRE) 13-8fav (11-8) Chased leader, led 3 out, pressed next, mistake and stumbled last, soon headed and stayed on same pace flat, 2nd of 8, 2l behind Sonofvic (11-5) at Ascot 2m 3f nov hdl (2) sft in Feb.