Useful hurdler Far Away So Close fell on his chasing debut before a good run behind Monastrell at Naas though the form of that race hasn't worked out as well as expected. Der Spieler ran his best race to date over fences behind Perfect Smile at Fairyhouse but will need to find some improvement to beat AITMATOV. Noel Meade's nine-times winning hurdler has come late to fences but has improved with experience and followed a close second to Frisco Depot at Fairyhouse with an even better performance there behind Rathlin where he would have gone very close but for sprawling on landing at the last. Spanish Auriga is held by Der Spieler on their form behind Perfect Smile but found some improvement next time and looks a threat as he has plenty of ability when inclined to use it.
Aitmatov (GER) 9-2 (11-12) Settled in mid-division, 7th halfway, 4th 4 out, ridden along in 3rd approaching 2 out, went 2nd before last where pecked badly on landing, not recover, 2nd of 13, 17l behind Rathlin (11-12) at Fairyhouse 2m 5f beg chase.
Colbert Station (IRE) 10-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, ridden in 5th and no impression 2 out, kept on one pace, 4th of 7, 22l behind Son Amix (11-11) at Punchestown 3m beg chs hvy in Dec.
Crystal Wave (IRE) 14-1 (11-12) Keen hold, close up, mistake 1st, no extra
Der Spieler (GER) 16-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, well off pace, closed quickly to challenge 2 out, struggling to get to winner from before last, kept on same pace run-in, 2nd of 9, 3 1/2l behind Perfect Smile (11-12) at Fairyhouse 2m 1f beg chs hvy in Dec.
Far Away So Close (IRE) 3-1fav (11-12) Led, headed briefly before 3rd, joined before 3 out, led again early straight, kept on under pressure from before last, no extra and headed closing stages, 2nd of 13, 3/4l behind Monastrell (11-12) at Naas 2m beg chs hvy in Oct.
High Desert (GER) 14-1 (11-12) Mid-division, 8th halfway, no extra from 3 out, tailed off, 9th of 13, well behind Rathlin (11-12) at Fairyhouse 2m 5f beg chase.
Luddsdenene (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Always towards rear, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Baby Whizz (11-12) at Navan 2m hcp hdl 80-109, 13 ran.
Spanish Auriga (IRE) 7-2 (11-12) Mid-division, headway into 3rd entering straight, led after 3 out, joined before next and then left clear 2 out, strongly pressed from last, headed inside final furlong, dropped to 3rd close home, 3rd of 11, 4l behind Oscar Dan Dan (11-12) at Navan 2m 1f beg chase.