Diplomat was hurdling over the winter without much success and was disappointing on his return to the Flat over the course and distance in March. Pat Smullen chooses him over stablemate Northern Rocked though neither may be good enough to prevent PLACERE from gaining her third victory despite an absence since October. She won twice last summer though her best effort came when narrowly beaten by Montebell in a premier handicap at the Curragh in September. The Four Elms took advantage of heavy ground to win with something in hand at Limerick a month ago and none of the remaining trio can be dismissed in what looks a tight handicap.
Barack (IRE) 14-1 (9-7) Led, headed over 2f out, soon no extra, 7th of 8, 14l behind Famous Name (10-0) at Leopardstown 1m 2f Listed stks (1) sft in Oct.
Diplomat (USA) 7-2fav (9-11) Chased leaders, 4th halfway, ridden into 2nd 2f out, no impression leader 1 1/2f out, no extra in 5th 1f out, kept on same pace final furlong, 4th of 8, 5l behind Rich Coast (9-7) at Cork 1m 2f hcp sft in Mar.
Northern Rocked (IRE) 16-1 (9-6) Prominent, mainly 2nd, no extra from 2f out, 9th of 10, 23l behind Stuccodor (9-3) at Leopardstown 1m 2f hcp sft in Apr.
Park Ranger (IRE) 3-1 (9-5) Held up in last, ridden entering straight, moderate 6th 1 1/2f out, some modest progress final furlong to go 4th, 4th of 7, 5l behind Potomac (9-1) at Gowran Park 1m 1f hcp hvy in Jul.
Placere (IRE) 10-1 (9-1) Tracked leaders, 7th halfway, 5th approaching straight, no impression from 2f out, kept on same pace, 6th of 27, 19l behind Voleuse De Coeurs (9-1) at Curragh 2m hcp hvy in Oct.
Gunner Lindley (IRE) 4-1 (10-0) Prominent, in front into straight, joined 2f out, soon headed, 3rd over 1f out, no extra, kept on same pace, 5th of 9, 7l behind Jackemil (8-10) at Limerick 1m hcp.
The Four Elms (IRE) 5-1 (9-11) Soon mid-division, pushed along into 3rd 3f out, went over to stand's rail and challenged 2f out, soon disputed, headed 1f out, no extra inside final furlong, kept on same pace, 3rd of 10, 7l behind Clara Bel La (8-13) at Tipperary 1m 4f Handicap (50-85) (4yo+) hvy.