This is invariably won by a useful hunter. JAMES undoubtedly fits that bill and has more scope than most, though he didn't look the easiest of rides when touched off at Down Royal when the 2m4f was probably too short. He had Burren Hill around behind in a top-class event won by Tammys Hill at Leopardstown in February but the pair could dominate this. Quel Esprit was further behind in that latter event and has since pulled up at Gowran. Enda Bolger's pair Be Positive and Fade Away are both young hunters who should do better in time.
Quel Esprit (FR) 4-1 (11-11) Led, jumped left 7th, not fluent 10th, joined 12th, soon headed and weakened, pulled up before 4 out, in a race won by Loch Dara (11-3) at Gowran Park 3m 1f hts chs sft in Mar, 10 ran.
Burren River (IRE) 15-8fav (11-5) Tracked leaders, on terms 12th, headed after 5 out, remained close up, on terms again into straight, close 3rd 3 out, no extra from next, kept on same pace, 3rd of 10, 13l behind Loch Dara (11-3) at Gowran Park 3m 1f hts chs sft in Mar.
James (IRE) 9-10fav (11-7) Held up in rear, progress into 5th 4 out, closer in 3rd 3 out, disputed travelling well before 2 out, ridden run-in, just failed at line, 2nd of 8, hd behind Mtada Supreme (11-2) at Down Royal 2m 4f hts chs in Mar.
The Mull (IRE) 12-1 (11-2) Led and disputed, headed 7th, ridden in 5th 5 out, no extra in 6th 3 out, moderate 5th when bad mistake last, kept on one pace, 4th of 8, 13l behind Mtada Supreme (11-2) at Down Royal 2m 4f hts chs in Mar.
Classic Cut 12-1 (11-6) Alw pr, cl 2nd 3out, rdn bef 2out, no ex but kow, 3rd of 12, 6l behind Long Strand (11-6) at Lingstown 3m ire ptp sft in Mar.
Fade Away (IRE) 4-1 (12-2) Chsd ldrs, 5th aftr a mile, cl 3rd aftr 4out & chall 3out, 2nd ffrom 2out until no ex in 3l 2nd at last, kow, 2nd of 12, 7l behind Doctor Phoenix (12-2) at Curraheen 3m ire ptp in Nov.
Fence Me In (IRE) 4-6 (12-2) Tr ldrs, rcd 5th, rdn aftr 3out, on terms 2out, ld last, ro strongly, won at Monksgrange 3m ire ptp hvy in Mar beating Sharp Shot (11-6) by 6l, 9 ran.
Hix Fix (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Prominent early, held up behind leaders from 6th, 5th halfway, progress into 4th 5 out, ridden 3 out, no extra in 4th 2 out, kept on one pace, 5th of 8, 13l behind Mtada Supreme (11-2) at Down Royal 2m 4f hts chs in Mar.
Need To Know (IRE) 5-4 (12-2) Mid div, 4th 1/2way, prog to 3rd gng well apr str, jnd ldr 2out, wo sn after, qcknd 4l clr apr last, won at Tinahely 3m ire ptp hvy in Mar beating One Cool Clarkson (12-2) by 6l, 5 ran.
Turtle Express (IRE) 4-1 (12-2) Alw pr, cl 4th 2out, rdn & not qckn last, ko, 3rd of 8, 9l behind Rosa Lord (12-2) at Maralin 3m ire ptp hvy in Mar.
Bee Fallon (IRE) 6-4 (12-2) Mid div, 6th 1/2way, prog to 1l 2nd 5out, nrw ld appr str, jnd 2out, hdd early flat, kow, 3rd of 9, 1 1/4l behind Most Chaste (12-2) at Borris House 3m ire ptp gd in Mar.
Be Positive (IRE) 33-1 (10-13) Held up towards rear, keen early, pushed along 4 out, ridden and no impression next when slightly hampered, 6th of 7, 42l behind Jim Will Fix It (11-12) at Punchestown 2m beg chs in Oct.