FIRST LIEUTENANT just failed to match the late run of Bobs Worth in the Lexus over this track and trip in December and can go one better. It was a performance to match his best ever and a definite improvement on the previous season's head defeat by today's rival Tidal Bay in the same event. He's four years younger than Paul Nicholls' brilliant veteran, who showed himself in superb heart when just failing to concede a huge amount of weight to the front pair in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. Roi Du Mee had First Lieutenant beaten a long way when landing the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal by 13l from Sizing Europe. He's since pulled up in the Betfair at Haydock and been beaten over a trip too short but it would be no great shock if he were to bounce back in this. Last Instalment, who had the selection 6l behind when landing the Fort Leney in 2011 before an enforced absence, made a very encouraging return to action behind Texas Jack at Thurles, his first start for almost two years, and with that under his belt he will ensure this is a real Grade 1 test.
First Lieutenant (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Tracked leader in 2nd, led briefly 12th, pushed along to challenge last, led briefly early run-in, headed under pressure 100 yards out, no impression on winner, 2nd of 9, 1 1/2l behind Bobs Worth (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec.
Last Instalment (IRE) 9-4fav (11-10) Chased leaders, jumped into 2nd at 6th, slight mistake next, close up 5 out, disputed from 3 out, 2nd and slight mistake 2 out, ridden to narrow lead last, headed run-in, no extra close home and dropped to 3rd, 3rd of 7, 1 1/4l behind Texas Jack (11-8) at Thurles 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Jan.
Lord Windermere (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Towards rear in touch, close 7th 2 out, ridden entering straight and no impression before last, kept on one pace run-in, 7th of 9, 11l behind Bobs Worth (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec.
Lyreen Legend (IRE) 14-1 (11-10) Towards rear in touch, progress in close 5th 2 out, ridden approaching last and no impression run-in, 5th of 9, 8l behind Bobs Worth (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec.
Roi Du Mee (FR) 13-8fav (11-12) Led, pressed and not fluent 2 out, soon headed, no impression and kept on same pace from before last, 2nd of 7, 3 1/2l behind Marito (11-9) at Tramore 2m 5f lst chs (1) hvy in Jan.
Texas Jack (IRE) 4-1 (11-8) Held up, 5th halfway, progress in 3rd entering straight, travelled well to challenge before last, ridden to lead run-in, kept on well, won at Thurles 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Jan beating Baily Green (11-8) by 3/4l, 7 ran.
Tidal Bay (IRE) 10-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, headway 5 out, went 3rd after 2 out, just over 2 lengths down flat, stayed on well towards finish, 3rd of 20, 3/4l behind Mountainous (10-0) at Chepstow 3m 5f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.