LEAH CLAIRE was in good form throughout last season and carried her improvement through to hurdles where she ran well without winning. She returned to the Flat at Leopardstown last week and showed up well enough behind Celtic Dane to suggest she is up to winning again. Jumbo Rio is a high-class hurdler who reverts to the Flat on what could prove to be a very handy mark though the trip looks on the short side as it does for stablemate Torphichen, who has been in fine form over fences this winter. Force Of Habit has shot up the weights after his three victories on the Flat last year and he's 11lb higher than when scoring at Dundalk in October. Sean Og Coulston was in excellent form last season though over shorter trips and it remains to be seen whether he stays this far.
Fisher Bridge (IRE) 16-1 (8-12) Prominent, 5th halfway, 8th 6f out, weakened approaching straight, eased under 2f out, tailed off, 19th of 23, well behind Bright Horizon (8-7) at Curragh 2m ext hcp in Sep.
Sean Og Coulston (IRE) 4-1fav (9-4) Tracked leaders in 3rd, ridden straight, no impression from 1 1/2f out, no extra inside final furlong, 5th of 13, 6l behind Hajoum (9-10) at Dundalk 7f hcp pol in Oct.
Tovaria 25-1 (9-5) Towards rear, ridden and kept on same pace straight, 11th of 16, 11l behind Gimli's Rock (9-0) at Naas 1m 4f hcap gd in Oct.
Jumbo Rio (IRE) 8-1 (8-13) Led, headed halfway, led again 3f out, clear 2f out, ridden and reduced advantage inside final furlong, headed last 50yds and no extra, 2nd of 19, 3/4l behind Dolphin Bay (9-5) at Leopardstown 1m 4f hcap sft in Nov '08.
Rock Medley (IRE) 7-1 (9-3) Chased leaders, 9th halfway, ridden entering straight, 6th under pressure 2f out, no extra from over 1f out, 10th of 21, 13l behind Big Occasion (9-0) at Curragh 1m 6f hcp 60-90 in Oct.
Hawkhill (IRE) 16-1 (9-0) Rear of mid-division, 11th halfway, kept on one pace under pressure from over 1f out without threatening, 8th of 14, 4l behind Drombeg Dawn (8-13) at Curragh 1m Extended Handicap (4yo+) sft in Mar.
Torphichen 11-4 (11-1) Chased leaders, 6th halfway, headway in 4th 3f out, improved to lead over 2f out, ridden and challenged entering straight, headed last 150 yards and no extra, kept on same pace, 2nd of 18, 1/2l behind Lucky At Last (10-11) at Galway 1m 6f stks sft in Oct '09.
Captain Dancer (IRE) 11-8fav (9-9) Tracked leading trio, effort on inside over 2f out, ridden to lead inside final furlong, soon edged left, no extra and headed close home, 2nd of 6, hd behind Rosco Flyer (9-2) at Salisbury 1m 2f hcp 0-85 (4) gs in Oct.
Scots Gaelic (IRE) 4-1 (9-3) Mid-division, 9th halfway, no extra entering straight, weakened, tailed off, 13th of 14, well behind Realisation (9-1) at Dundalk 1m 4f hcp 60-85 pol in Oct.
Force Of Habit 5-2fav (9-6) Tracked leaders in 5th, 4th into straight, soon ridden to challenge, led under 1f out, headed under 100 yards from finish, kept on, 3rd of 14, 1 1/2l behind Denny Crane (9-6) at Dundalk 1m 4f 3yo stks pol in Nov.
Leah Claire (IRE) 10-1 (8-8) Settled towards rear, some headway early straight, kept on well inside final furlong without troubling leaders, 6th of 14, 3 1/2l behind Celtic Dane (8-8) at Leopardstown 1m 2f hcp 60-100 in Mar.
Silver Shuffle (IRE) 14-1 (9-7) Held up towards rear, ridden and some progress under 3f out, 11th 1 1/2f out, kept on, 8th of 22, 3 1/2l behind Leah Claire (9-10) at Leopardstown 1m 4f hcp 55-80 gf in Oct.
Big Bad Billy Bob (IRE) 5-1 (8-7) Tracked leader in 2nd, ridden to challenge early straight, led 1 1/2f out, headed inside final furlong, no extra, 2nd of 9, 2l behind Bay Knight (9-10) at Leopardstown 7f clm stks gd in Jul.
Articilitis (IRE) 14-1 (9-0) Held up towards rear, kept on straight, 11th of 22, 5l behind Leah Claire (9-10) at Leopardstown 1m 4f hcp 55-80 gf in Oct.