The Listener won this in 2008 and is no back number judged on a decent return in the Lexus here when Money Trix and JONCOL battled it out for the places behind Pandorama with Kempes still in touch when unshipping AP McCoy. Money Trix had finished a close second to What A Friend in the previous Lexus and Nicky Richards appears confident he can take this but Joncol won this last year where he just got the better of Cooldine and can repeat the process. Paul Nolan looks to have brought the eight-year-old to concert pitch and he can repel the UK pair and complete the double. Kempes had beaten China Rock in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown in April and looks a major threat.
China Rock (IRE) 5-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, improved to dispute 9th, led before 4 out, ridden and headed 3 out, under pressure in 3rd before 2 out, kept on same pace, just held for 2nd, 3rd of 7, 4 1/2l behind Kauto Star (11-10) at Down Royal 3m chs G1 (1) sft in Nov.
Glencove Marina (IRE) 7-2 (11-6) Chased leaders, mistake 1st, 4th under pressure 5 out, weakened 3 out, eased after 2 out, 7th of 9, 39l behind Follow The Plan (11-3) at Thurles 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Jan.
Joncol (IRE) 5-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders on outer, 5th halfway, pushed along in 4th after 2 out, no impression on winner run-in, kept on one pace, 3rd of 12, 7l behind Pandorama (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec.
Kempes (IRE) 9-1 (11-10) Held up towards rear, 9th 4 out, 8th and in touch when blundered and unseated rider 2 out, in a race won by Pandorama (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec, 12 ran.
Let Yourself Go (IRE) 9-1 (11-7) Settled in last early, 3rd before 5th, poor 3rd 5 out, ridden and kept on same pace entering straight, some late headway from before last, 3rd of 4, 8l behind Golden Silver (11-12) at Fairyhouse 2m 1f chs G2 (1) hvy in Jan.
Made In Taipan (IRE) 12-1 (10-13) Prominent, led from 3rd, headed before 4 out, weakened from 3 out, last of 9, 28l behind Shinrock Paddy (11-10) at Naas 2m 3f hdl Gr3 (1) in Jan.
Money Trix (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Mid-division, 7th halfway, mistake 10th, 6th 3 out, ridden in 5th entering straight, kept on under pressure closing stages without threatening winner, 2nd of 12, 6l behind Pandorama (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec.
The Listener (IRE) 10-1 (11-10) Attempted to make all, slight mistake 4 out, strongly pressed after 2 out, headed under pressure when slow at last, no extra run-in and weakened, 5th of 12, 14l behind Pandorama (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m chs G1 (1) in Dec.
Trafford Lad 12-1 (11-3) Tracked leaders on outer, 5th 5 out, 3rd briefly next, no extra from 3 out, 6th of 9, 20l behind Follow The Plan (11-3) at Thurles 2m 4f chs Grd 2 (1) sft in Jan.