It's round five of the HURRICANE FLY versus Solwhit saga and the latter has a very difficult task in retaining the crown he won here a year ago. Charles Byrnes' star had beaten his great rival in the 2009 Punchestown Hurdle before taking this but Willie Mullins' brilliant timber-topper has taken his revenge in their three subsequent outings, looking better with each run. All ground appears to come alike to him and the Byrnes camp will need to find some special tactics to upset the favourite this time. The remainder are all class performers but have been regularly beaten by the leading pair and there appears no reason for a role reversal this time.
Hurricane Fly (IRE) 8-11fav (11-10) Tracked leader in 2nd, close up travelling well from 2 out, led on bridle last, drew clear, not extended, impressive, won at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) hvy in Dec beating Solwhit (11-10) by 2l, 5 ran.
Solwhit (FR) 6-4 (11-10) Tracked leaders in 3rd, slight mistake at 3rd, close up travelling well from 2 out, effort on inner when not fluent last, switched and kept on under pressure run-in, no chance with winner, 2nd of 5, 2l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) hvy in Dec.
Sublimity (FR) 11-10fav (11-5) Held up in rear, 3rd from 5th, closer and went 2nd before 2 out, challenged to dispute lead at last, soon led and pushed out to maintain advantage on run-in, won at Cork 2m hdl sft beating Newmill (11-2) by 1/2l, 4 ran.
Thousand Stars (FR) 16-1 (11-10) Held up in touch, 4th and ridden after 2 out, kept on without threatening from last, 4th of 5, 4 1/2l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) hvy in Dec.
Voler La Vedette (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) Rear of mid-division, 8th halfway, headway approaching straight, 5th 2 out, kept on well under pressure on run-in without reaching principals, 3rd of 11, 3 1/2l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Fairyhouse 2m 4f hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec.