LUSKA LAD and Blackstairmountain had a rare old tussle in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse in April when the former, who was conceding 6lbs, battled back to victory after looking beaten at the last. The heavy ground probably contributed to the defeat of the runner-up and he went on to land the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown on good going for which he is penalised. On these terms and with a recent victory under his belt, Luska Lad should again come out on top and gain the 11th victory of his career. Der Spieler, runner-up to the selection last time, looks held but Summit Meeting is the type to do very well this season and could prove the best of Jessica Harrington's pair.
Blackstairmountain (IRE) 5-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, closed from 4 out, 3rd travelling well before straight, led approaching last, quickly clear, stayed on well, won at Punchestown 2m nov hdl G2 (1) gd in Apr beating Flat Out (11-12) by 2 1/2l, 10 ran.
Luska Lad (IRE) 4-6fav (11-10) Tracked leader in 2nd, led approaching 2 out, soon drew clear, eased from last, not extended, very easily, won at Punchestown 2m hdl Gr3 (1) gd in Oct beating Der Spieler (11-1) by 2 1/2l, 5 ran.
Magnum Force (IRE) 10-1 (11-7) Always towards rear, mistake 2nd, no extra and weakened from 4 out, 9th of 11, 43l behind Grangeclare Gold (11-2) at Bellewstown 2m 4f hcp hdl gd in Aug.
Der Spieler (GER) 8-1 (11-1) Settled 4th, slight mistake 1st, 3rd 4 out, ridden from 2 out, 2nd and kept on from last without troubling winner, 2nd of 5, 2 1/2l behind Luska Lad (11-10) at Punchestown 2m hdl Gr3 (1) gd in Oct.
Gimli's Rock (IRE) 7-4 (11-6) Chased leader, disputed 2nd, ridden in 3rd before straight, stayed on well from last to lead close home, won at Limerick 2m 2f 4yo hdl gd in Oct beating Cross Appeal (11-3) by 1l, 4 ran.
Summit Meeting 10-1 (11-7) Mid-division, headway on inside 3 out, ridden to chase leaders next, kept on same pace flat, 4th of 17, 6l behind Peddlers Cross (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar.