Diplomat was due to run in the opening race of the Festival last night where he was certain to start a short-priced favourite but this looks tougher. SHAMAR has a double penalty after scoring at Cork and then beating Que Pasa at Killarney. The runner-up should get closer on 3lb better terms but the winner is a very smart prospect who can complete his hat-trick. Bob Le Beau was around 3l behind Que Pasa at Down Royal last month and is worse off at the weights having been successful subsequently and though Elegant Statesman is progressing fast he might find a couple of these too speedy.
Shamar (FR) 2-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders, 3rd for much, challenged and on terms 2 out, clear last, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Killarney 2m 1f nh nov hdl gf beating Que Pasa (11-5) by 3 1/2l, 11 ran.
Bob Le Beau (IRE) 9-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders, improved into
Cracking Man (IRE) 5-2fav (11-12) Held up towards rear, headway into 4th 3 out, 2nd next, ridden before last, challenged last, soon disputed, asserted closing stages, won at Downpatrick 2m 2f mdn hdl gf beating Pepparpot (11-6) by 1l, 11 ran.
Elegant Statesman (IRE) 13-8fav (11-12) Chased leader in 2nd, led 5 out, challenged entering straight, ridden and strongly pressed before last, kept on well run-in, won at Limerick 2m 2f mdn hdl sft in May beating Giant's Quest (11-12) by 2 1/2l, 17 ran.
Yellow Rock (IRE) 50-1 (11-9) Always behind, completely tailed off, 12th of 14, well behind Pride Ofthe Parish (11-12) at Punchestown 2m 4f mdn hdl hvy in Dec.
Diplomat (USA) 4-7fav (10-10) Chased leader in 3rd, closer 4 out and went 2nd before 2 out, smooth headway to lead entering straight and cruised clear early run-in, unextended, won at Sligo 2m nh nov hdl gd beating King William (11-2) by 1l, 6 ran.
Que Pasa (IRE) 7-2 (11-5) Tracked leaders, 4th for much, in pursuit of winner from 2 out, soon no impression in 2nd, kept on same pace, 2nd of 11, 3 1/2l behind Shamar (11-12) at Killarney 2m 1f nh nov hdl gf.
Eveton (IRE) 25-1 (10-13) Always towards rear, ridden and no impression 5 out, 10th of 18, well behind Golden Palm (10-13) at Killarney 2m 4f mdn hdl gf.