Top point-to-point rider Derek O'Connor showed his prowess with a bumper victory here on Monday and was on board when YES SIR BRIAN gained a surprise debut victory at Punchestown in February. He's not from a high profile yard but looks a very smart prospect and can remain unbeaten. Wicklow Brave has to be a big threat after his battling success in a strong Galway bumper in July while Stolberg, a winner at this meeting a year ago, was conceding a massive 19lb when beaten narrowly by Tooreen at Limerick in May. Agent James made a winning start at Navan in January but didn't make the expected progress but Celtic fashion has improved with every run culminating in his victory at Cork last month.
Agent James (IRE) 33-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders on outer, lost place on outer 6f out, weakened from 4f out, 13th of 15, well behind Turnandgo (12-0) at Punchestown 2m N H flat hvy in Apr.
Celtic Fashion (IRE) 20-1 (11-11) Waited with, soon in mid-division, progress to track leaders travelling well from before straight, challenged and led over 1f out, soon drifted a bit left, stayed on well, won at Cork 2m N H flat gd in Aug beating Goldboy (12-0) by 3/4l, 18 ran.
Stolberg (IRE) 11-1 (12-0) Raced in 2nd for most, almost on terms from 4f out, still travelling well straight, challenged from 2f out, ridden to be on terms over 1f out, soon headed, kept on well without getting back to winner closing stages, 2nd of 8, 1/2l behind Tooreen (10-9) at Limerick 2m N H flat sft in May.
Wicklow Brave 7-2 (11-8) Soon mid-division, closed from over 3f out, tracked leaders from over 2f out, 3rd before straight, ridden to challenge and gain slight lead from under 1f out, stayed on well, won at Galway 2m N H flat gd in Jul beating Marty's Magic (11-8) by 3/4l, 20 ran.
Yes Sir Brian (IRE) 20-1 (11-7) Held up in rear, headway in 6th 2f out, ridden into 3rd 1 1/2f out, led 1f out, kept on well final furlong, won at Punchestown 2m 4yo nhf hvy in Feb beating Ange Balafre (11-7) by 2l, 9 ran.
Bendanella (IRE) 11-1 (11-11) Led and disputed, headed after 4f, 3rd halfway, ridden in 5th 3f out, under pressure 2f out, weakened from over 1f out, 9th of 22, 41l behind Faugheen (12-0) at Punchestown 2m 5yo nhf gd in May.
Border Pass (IRE) 7-4 (12-0) Last & ww, mstk 1st, sl prog in 9th aftr 6out, further prog gng well 3out, ld last, unextended, won at Inch 3m ire ptp gd in Apr '11 beating Some Chief (12-0) by 3l, 12 ran.
Patsio (IRE) Moscow Society gelding out of Supreme Favour.