The highlight of the Festival and as tricky as ever. Jonjo O'Neill runs Rum And Butter and It's A Gimme, who have won their last five races between them, but A P McCoy has deserted them for Alderwood, who hasn't been out since October. Tom Mullins' charge, last year's Grand Annual winner, is a classy performer at best and has obviously had this as his target. Paul Nicholls sends Caid Du Berlais over and this classy ex-French hurdler is taking on a tough task on just his third start over fences but he may never be as well handicapped again so connections must believe he's worth the risk. Lord Ben jumped like an old hand to beat a strong field at Wexford though he's barely out of the novice stage. BURN AND TURN was very impressive when landing a tough handicap at Punchestown where she travelled well throughout. The assessor also took note and has raised her 10lb but she can make further progress and providing the ground doesn't turn soft she can take this for Jessica Harrington. Wise Old Owl, runner-up in 2011, doesn't run very often but John Kiely won this last year and will have him primed to run the race of his life.
Kid Cassidy (IRE) 10-1 (11-10) Not fluent, held up in rear, hampered 4 out, well beaten 3 out, 7th of 11, 45l behind Sire De Grugy (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m chs G1 (1) gd in Mar.
Alderwood (IRE) 6-1 (11-5) Always rear, blundered 1st and slow 2nd, raced wide, pushed along and no impression when left 4th and slight hampered 2 out, no extra when slow last, 4th of 6, 32l behind Twinlight (11-10) at Naas 2m chs Grade 3 (1) in Oct.
Road To Riches (IRE) 9-1 (11-3) Led, joined 4 out and headed next, soon ridden, kept on under pressure run-in, 2nd of 14, 3/4l behind Operating (10-7) at Punchestown 2m 5f nov hcp chs in May.
Spring Heeled (IRE) 12-1 (11-3) Prominent, led after 1st until 2nd, stayed in touch, not fluent and lost place 16th, no impression after, plugged on from 2 out, 5th of 19, 16l behind Hadrian's Approach (11-0) at Sandown 3m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gs in Apr.
Vulcanite (IRE) 9-1 (11-7) Mid-division, headway to chase leaders 3 out, led just after last, ran on well, won at Worcester 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-150 (2) gf in Jun beating Join The Clan (11-0) by 1 3/4l, 13 ran.
Aupcharlie (IRE) 10-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, 5th halfway, 9th and ridden 4 out, no impression when slight mistake 2 out, kept on run-in, 4th close home, 4th of 15, 9l behind Orpheus Valley (10-5) at Punchestown 2m 4f hcp chs in Apr.
Art Of Logistics (IRE) 2-9fav (11-7) Soon raced in 3rd, slightly slow at 4th, closed 8th but mistake next and lost ground, soon pushed along, challenged between horses from before 2 out where on terms, soon led, not fluent last, strongly pressed, stayed on best closing stages, won at Punchestown 2m 2f chs 0-150 in Jun beating Loosen My Load (11-7) by 1l, 4 ran.
Caid Du Berlais (FR) 8-1 (11-9) Mid-division, headway towards stands side before 2 out, led narrowly between last 2, ridden and kept on flat, headed final strides, 2nd of 22, nk behind Clondaw Kaempfer (11-4) at Aintree 2m 4f hcp hdl Grade 3 (1) gs in Apr.
Quantitativeeasing (IRE) 7-2 (11-7) Held up, 14th before halfway, moderate 10th 6 out, progress to chase leaders 5 out, 8th approaching 2 out and no impression, kept on without threatening from before last, 4th of 19, 16l behind Jacks Island (11-0) at Punchestown 4m 1f crs cntry chs (5yo+) gf in May.
Rum And Butter (IRE) 6-4 (11-12) Held up in touch, headway after 4 out, close up next, challenged 2 out, led soon after last, pushed out flat, won at Market Rasen 2m 4f nov chs (4) gd in Jun beating Scots Gaelic (10-12) by 1 3/4l, 7 ran.
Terminal (FR) 33-1 (10-12) Towards rear, badly hampered 14th, kept on under pressure flat, never involved, 9th of 21, 23l behind Triolo D'Alene (11-1) at Newbury 3m 2f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gd in Nov.
Golden Wonder (IRE) 16-1 (10-6) Tracked leaders, 9th halfway, progress to lead approaching 3 out, ridden early straight, kept on under pressure, no extra and headed close home, 2nd of 26, 3/4l behind Shutthefrontdoor (10-13) at Fairyhouse 3m 5f hcp chs (1) in Apr.
Away We Go (IRE) 3-1fav (11-0) Held up, closed from 5 out, on terms approaching 3 out, travelling smoothly before straight, led after 2 out, stayed on well run-in, won at Punchestown 2m 6f chs in Jun beating Pageboy (11-6) by 3/4l, 9 ran.
Grandads Horse 8-1 (11-8) In touch in mid-division, headway 5th, challenged after 4 out, lost place 3 out, 8th of 13, 25l behind It's A Gimme (11-1) at Market Rasen 2m 6f listed hcp chs (1) gs.
It's A Gimme (IRE) 2-1fav (11-1) Held up towards rear, not fluent 3rd, hampered 5th, headway before 9th, hit 3 out, challenged 2 out, soon led, headed after last, driven to lead again flat, stayed on, won at Market Rasen 2m 6f listed hcp chs (1) gs beating Lost Legend (11-3) by 1 3/4l, 13 ran.
Lord Ben (IRE) 11-4 (11-12) Made most, mistake and joined 2 out, soon ridden, regained lead before last, joined and strongly pressed at last, rallied well to regain lead inside final furlong, won at Wexford 2m 1f chs beating Midnight Game (10-11) by nk, 6 ran.
Burn And Turn (IRE) 7-1 (11-1) Mid-division, 7th halfway, progress 3 out and went 2nd before next, led last and kept on under pressure run-in, won at Punchestown 2m 5f hcp chs in May beating She's Got Grit (10-6) by 1/2l, 15 ran.
Balnaslow (IRE) 8-1 (11-1) Mid-division, 9th halfway, ridden and no extra after 4 out, weakened, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Operating (10-7) at Punchestown 2m 5f nov hcp chs in May, 14 ran.
Golden Kite (IRE) 8-1 (10-10) Tracked leader, on terms briefly 9th, on terms again 5 out, led after next, not fluent 3 out, asserted from next, wandered about between last 2, stayed on well run-in, reduced lead but holding on at the finish, won at Roscommon 3m hcp chs gd in Jun beating Cherryantor (9-10) by 3/4l, 15 ran.
Shanpallas (IRE) 28-1 (11-2) Behind and mistakes, hampered 4th, struggling 11th, never dangerous, 8th of 11, 50l behind Indian Castle (11-3) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov chs (2) hvy in Jan.
Count Salazar (IRE) 7-1 (11-8) Led, headed before 2nd, close up, on terms 4 out, led next, pressed 2 out, soon wandered about, kept on well run-in, headed near line, 2nd of 18, nk behind In A Nutshell (11-4) at Limerick 2m 5f hcp hdl 80-116 gf.
Wise Old Owl (IRE) 14-1 (10-5) Held up towards rear, progress into 8th 4 out, ridden and no impression entering straight, 8th of 15, 15l behind Orpheus Valley (10-5) at Punchestown 2m 4f hcp chs in Apr.
Orpheus Valley (IRE) 28-1 (10-5) Made all, ridden entering straight, kept on from before last, strongly pressed closing stages run-in, won at Punchestown 2m 4f hcp chs in Apr beating Competitive Edge (11-1) by 1/2l, 15 ran.
Jacksonslady (IRE) 20-1 (11-3) Towards rear, hit 7th, no extra from after 4 out, soon weakened, tailed off, 8th of 10, well behind Instant Impacked (9-12) at Gowran Park 2m 2f hcap ch sft in Mar.
Usuel Smurfer (FR) 4-1 (11-7) Held up, soon rear of mid-division, improved into 7th 3 out, ridden to go moderate 3rd and kept on same pace from before last, 3rd of 15, 7l behind Your Busy (10-10) at Killarney 2m 6f hcp chs in May.