VOLER LA VEDETTE won this a year ago and though suffering a shock defeat on her comeback can go in again. Colm Murphy's mare gave Big Buck's the fright of his life in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and can reverse January's Galmoy Hurdle running with Zaidpour as she failed to settle that day and had nothing left at the finish. Willie Mullins' charge is still a threat over this trip and should do better than stablemate So Young, who has yet to prove himself at this level, but Monksland, whose only defeat when completing the course came when third to Simonsig in the Neptune at Cheltenham, looks potentially high class this season and he's been very lightly raced.
Monksland (IRE) 4-5fav (11-8) Settled mainly 5th, headway in 3rd entering straight, challenged 3 out, led before 2 out, pushed out to assert and mistake last, briefly pressed after last, kept on well closing stages, comfortably, won at Down Royal 2m hdl G2 (1) gd in Nov beating Joxer (11-2) by 2l, 6 ran.
Si C'etait Vrai (FR) 6-4 (11-7) Led and soon clear, reduced advantage after 3 out, ridden and strongly pressed next, headed at last, kept on run-in, 2nd of 5, 1/2l behind Cause Of Causes (11-9) at Fairyhouse 2m hdl sft in Nov.
So Young (FR) 16-1 (11-10) Held up mid-division in touch on outside, outpaced after 3 out, weakened next, tailed off, 9th of 11, well behind Big Buck's (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gd in Mar.
Zaidpour (FR) 6-1 (10-10) 5th of 12, 12l behind Thousand Stars (10-10) at Auteuil(FR) 3m 1f hdl G1 sft in Jun.
Voler La Vedette (IRE) 1-7fav (11-5) Held up, slight mistakes 3rd and 6th, 5th halfway, headway into 2nd 3 out, pushed along to close on leader 2 out, ridden and no impression before last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 6, 4 1/2l behind Whatuthink (11-5) at Navan 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) in Nov.