Although this is a tremendous race in its own right, it's very much a Grand National trial with all seven entries engaged at Aintree. PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE won this a year ago and is currently joint-favourite for the big one. He didn't reappear until December when scoring over timber at Limerick and is taken to get the better of Seabass, last year's Aintree third, who also had an outing over hurdles last time when producing a fine run behind Rock Critic on this track. Quito De La Roque looked to be back to his very best when beating Roi Du Mee at Thurles last month and has a penalty to carry for that Grade 2 success. He's currently a 50/1 chance for the Gold Cup but watch those odds shrink dramatically if he can give weight away all round here. Galway Plate winner Bob Lingo is suited by the race conditions and should prove best of the rest in a fascinating contest.
Quito De La Roque (FR) 12-1 (11-10) Tracked leader in 2nd, led from 8th, asserted after 2 out and kept on well run-in, won at Thurles 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) hvy in Jan beating Roi Du Mee (11-8) by 7l, 8 ran.
Prince De Beauchene (FR) 3-1 (11-11) A bit slow 1st, always prominent and keen hold, a little bit left at 5th, in front after 3 out, going best straight, extended away to assert run-in, won at Limerick 2m 3f hdl hvy in Dec beating Venture Capital (11-11) by 3 1/2l, 6 ran.
Roi Du Mee (FR) 15-8fav (11-8) Led, headed 8th, ridden along early straight and no impression on winner approaching last, kept on one pace, 2nd of 8, 7l behind Quito De La Roque (11-10) at Thurles 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Seabass (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders in 5th, went moderate 3rd and pushed along 3 out, went 2nd at last, kept on steadily without threatening easy winner, 2nd of 6, 3 1/2l behind Rock Critic (11-12) at Fairyhouse 2m hdl hvy.
Bob Lingo (IRE) 10-1 (11-12) Prominent, led from 7th, headed and weakened quickly 4 out, soon behind, last of 6, 35l behind Call The Police (11-12) at Clonmel 2m 4f chs hvy.
Oscar Time (IRE) 33-1 (11-3) Settled towards rear when blundered and unseated rider 6th, in a race won by Quito De La Roque (11-10) at Thurles 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) hvy in Jan, 8 ran.
Rare Bob (IRE) 20-1 (11-7) Rear of mid-division, 10th halfway, no threat early straight, kept on one pace without troubling leaders, 6th of 16, 11l behind Sherika (9-5) at Thurles 2m 6f hcp hdl 8Evens23 hvy in Jan.