Henry De Bromhead has attempted to win this twice with SIZING EUROPE but the great two-miler has been thwarted by Kauto Star in 2010 and Quito De La Roque a year later. Whether he can last out this time is a matter of conjecture but nothing will be going better at two and a half miles and hopefully he can hang on this time. Cheltenham Gold Cup third and Betfred Bowl winner First Lieutenant had the cobwebs blown off at Punchestown last month in preparation for this. He finished a length runner-up to Kauto Stone in this last year with Quito De La Roque a further 4l back in third. The winner didn't produce anything like that kind of form in three subsequent runs but obviously likes it around here and goes best fresh. Mount Benbulben was beaten 5l by Realt More over 2m4f at Fairyhouse in March before landing an incident packed Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.
First Lieutenant (IRE) 4-5fav (11-10) Tracked leaders in 3rd, 2nd from 10th, ridden and tried to challenge approaching last, kept on same pace but no impression in 3rd run-in, eased near line, 3rd of 5, 2 3/4l behind Toner D'Oudairies (11-6) at Punchestown 2m 7f chs Grade 3 (1) gd in Oct.
Kauto Stone (FR) 14-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, dropped to 6th 5 out, no impression leaders from 4 out, weakened next and pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Sir Des Champs (11-10) at Punchestown 3m 1f chs G1 (1) sft in Apr, 8 ran.
Mount Benbulben (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Always prominent, went 2nd travelling well 3 out, led entering straight, jumped right 2 out, ridden and went clear from last, stayed on strongly, easily, won at Punchestown 3m 1f nov chs G1 (1) sft in Apr beating Tofino Bay (11-10) by 22l, 8 ran.
Prince De Beauchene (FR) 8-11fav (11-8) Close up and disputed lead, not fluent 4 out, close 2nd before last, every chance and kept on without matching winner run-in, 2nd of 6, 2l behind Roi Du Mee (11-8) at Fairyhouse 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Feb.
Quito De La Roque (FR) 8-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, dropped to 4th and ridden 4 out, no impression in a dispute of 5th when fell 2 out, in a race won by Sizing Europe (11-10) at Gowran Park 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct, 8 ran.
Roi Du Mee (FR) 2-1 (11-8) Led, headed briefly after 3rd, ridden and strongly pressed approaching last, kept on under pressure, no extra and headed final 50 yards, 2nd of 5, 3/4l behind Toner D'Oudairies (11-6) at Punchestown 2m 7f chs Grade 3 (1) gd in Oct.
Sizing Europe (IRE) 4-5fav (11-10) Raced in 2nd, challenged 3 out, soon gained narrow lead, pressed and stayed on well run-in, won at Gowran Park 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) gd in Oct beating Baily Green (11-8) by 1 1/4l, 8 ran.