Wishfull Thinking was impressive when beating Calgary Bay in a handicap here in January. Philip Hobbs has already won the Arkle Chase with Captain Chris this week and also rates this son of Alflora highly so it would be no surprise to see him take this prize back to Somerset. But we just prefer NOBLE PRINCE, who has had a rear view of Realt Dubh in his two most recent starts at Leopardstown but gets his favoured good ground for the first time since winning in a canter at Punchestown last October. Fifth here in last year's County Hurdle, Paul Nolan's seven-year-old has been crying out for this longer trip and the booking of AP McCoy can only help his cause. Loosen My Load, Mr Cracker and Blazing Tempo are other Irish raiders worth a second look, while Bouggler is probably capable of improving on what he's achieved so far over fences. Mr Gardner looks the pick of Nicky Henderson's two runners and may be best of the rest.
Bouggler 10-3 (11-4) Tracked winner throughout, disputed lead from 8th, ridden and every chance approaching 2 out, one pace between last 2, no chance with winner flat, 2nd of 3, 10l behind Wymott (11-8) at Bangor 2m 4f nov chs (3) gs in Feb.
Cootehill (IRE) 20-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, mistake 2nd, went 2nd 9th, jumped slowly and lost 2nd 12th, still chasing leaders 3 out, weakened before next, 6th of 8, 19l behind The Giant Bolster (11-12) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov chs (2) gs in Jan.
Loosen My Load (IRE) 12-1 (11-12) Close up in 2nd, disputed lead briefly 3 out, 2nd and ridden 2 out, soon outpaced, left moderate 4th from last, 4th of 8, 10l behind Realt Dubh (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
Mr Cracker (IRE) 7-1 (11-12) Led, headed before 2 out, left in lead again 2 out, ridden entering straight, headed before last, no extra and kept on same pace, 3rd of 6, 10l behind Realt Dubh (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs G1 (1) sft in Jan.
Mr Gardner (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Led, pecked 1st, headed next, led after 3rd, headed 7th, not fluent next, led before 3 out, soon headed, pressing winner when stumbled 2 out, 3rd and beaten last, one pace, 3rd of 9, 8l behind Medermit (11-4) at Sandown 2m 4f nov chs G1 (1) gd in Feb.
Mr Thriller (FR) 7-2fav (11-0) Led until 3rd, not fluent next, hit 11th, soon hampered and lost place, well in rear when awkward 3 out, 9th of 13, 48l behind Hell's Bay (11-4) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov chs G2 (1) gs in Jan.
Noble Prince (GER) 3-1 (11-12) Settled behind leaders, 4th halfway, left 3rd 2 out, ridden entering straight, stayed on to challenge last, disputed run-in, no extra close home, 2nd of 6, shd behind Realt Dubh (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f nov chs G1 (1) sft in Jan.
Radium (FR) 11-8 (11-4) Left tracking leader 1st, joined leader and clear 3 out, kept on and every chance, ridden after last, rallied on inside rail to lead towards finish, all out, won at Market Rasen 2m 6f nov chs (3) sft in Feb beating Cape Tribulation (11-4) by nk, 5 ran.
Robinson Collonges (FR) 15-2 (10-11) Towards rear of mid-division, pecked 5th, headway and in touch 5 out, outpaced when blundered 3 out, soon weakened, 9th of 16, 45l behind Poquelin (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 5f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec.
Wishfull Thinking 9-2fav (11-3) Jumped well, chased leaders, went 2nd 10th, led 13th, in command from 2 out, stayed on strongly from last, driven out, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gs in Jan beating Calgary Bay (10-12) by 3 1/2l, 10 ran.
Blazing Tempo (IRE) 7-4fav (11-5) Tracked leaders, 4th halfway, 3rd 4 out, improved into close 2nd after next, slight mistake 2 out, soon ridden and no impression, kept on same pace from last, 2nd of 11, 5l behind For Bill (10-11) at Thurles 2m 4f mrs nov chs Gr3 (1) sft in Jan.