FINGAL BAY lost his unbeaten record over hurdles when tackling 3m for the first time at Aintree in April but his overall form over the smaller obstacles was top class and he's an exciting prospect if transferring that ability to chasing. This isn't an easy start, however, as the lightly-raced Poungach goes well fresh and should also make up into a smart novice. Royal Scoundrel could find himself outclassed while Tiger O'Toole has been a little hit-and-miss over fences so far and will struggle to give 8lb to the principals. Witness That has been tackling point-to-points and may be out of his depth here.
Tiger O'Toole (IRE) 10-3 (12-4) Held up, took keen hold, closed from 8th, not fluent 3 out, went 2nd 2 out, stayed on, not able to trouble winner, 2nd of 5, 2l behind Merrion Square (11-11) at Newton Abbot 2m nov chs (4) sft in Sep.
Fingal Bay (IRE) 13-8fav (11-4) Mid-division on inside, headway when hampered 4th, mistake 8th, led 10th, ridden and pressed from 2 out, headed flat, held towards finish, 2nd of 19, 1 3/4l behind Lovcen (11-4) at Aintree 3m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Apr.
Poungach (FR) 12-1 (11-7) Tracked leader, driven and lost place after 4 out, 4th and ridden after next, soon no chance with leaders, lost well beaten 4th flat, 5th of 8, 23l behind Big Buck's (11-7) at Aintree 3m hdl G1 (1) gs in Apr.
Royal Scoundrel (IRE) 6-4fav (11-4) Led after 1st, hit 5th, headed approaching 2 out, one pace when switched left approaching last, ridden and no chance with winner flat, 2nd of 7, 12l behind Ryton Runner (10-10) at Perth 3m nh nov hdl (4) gd in Sep.
Witness That (IRE) 3-1 (12-0) Ld, jnd bef 3out & still disp when faster jump last, no ex flat & hdd 50 yards out, 2nd of 5, 1l behind Presenting Rebel (12-0) at Dromahane 3m ire ptp sft in Mar.