This looks yet another for the Mullins camp as FAUGHEEN was very impressive when making a winning debut between the flags and when landing a Punchestown bumper by 22 lengths. He made an impressive start over timber at the latter track when defying a last-flight error and, though this is much tougher, he has four Grade 1 entries after this. Empire Of Dirt made a winning debut over hurdles at Punchestown and ran well in a Grade 2 over this course and distance a couple of weeks ago while Gold Patrol was always travelling well when landing a Thurles maiden last month. Horendus Hulabaloo found the minimum trip too sharp at Thurles last week while Diyala only scrambled home in a novices event at Wexford. The Winkler looks a nice recruit to hurdling after his bumper victories but could have been found an easier race to make his debut.
Empire Of Dirt (IRE) 16-1 (11-3) Tracked leader in 2nd, ridden 3 out, dropped to 4th next, no impression, 5th of 8, 13l behind Apache Stronghold (11-3) at Navan 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) in Nov.
Faugheen (IRE) 1-5fav (11-12) Tracked leaders and took keen hold, 4th halfway, headway approaching 3 out and led entering straight, stretched clear before last where slight mistake, eased run-in, very easily, won at Punchestown 2m 6f mdn hdl in Nov beating Chute Hall (11-12) by 7l, 10 ran.
Gold Patrol (IRE) 9-2 (11-1) Mid-division, headway 4 out and went 2nd 2 out, soon challenged and led before last, kept on well to assert run-in, won at Thurles 2m 6f mdn hdl gd in Nov beating Dun Scaith (11-4) by 3l, 12 ran.
Cullentry Royal 7-4fav (11-12) Prominent, bad mistake 3rd, reached for next, closed into 3rd and pushed along after 3 out, 4th next, no impression and kept on same pace from before last, 6th of 17, 4l behind Howwoulduno (10-13) at Down Royal 2m mdn hdl gd in May.
Haughtons Bridge (IRE) 4-1 (11-4) Chsd ldrs, 4th 6out, 6th & btn aftr 4out, wknd 3out, 4th of 13, 23l behind Guiding George (12-0) at Dromahane 3m ire ptp in Apr.
Kilbarry Beauty (IRE) 5-2 (11-7) Held up in 4th/5th, ridden from 4 out, moderate 4th after 3 out, moderate 4th entering straight, headway into 2nd after last, stayed on strongly run-in, just failed, 2nd of 5, hd behind Diyala (10-11) at Wexford 2m mrs nov hdl sft in Nov.
Diyala (IRE) 3-1 (10-11) Held up in 4th/5th, went 3rd 3 out, 2nd and ridden from next, led entering straight, clear when bad mistake last, soon strongly pressed, kept on run-in, all out, won at Wexford 2m mrs nov hdl sft in Nov beating Kilbarry Beauty (11-7) by hd, 5 ran.
Horendus Hulabaloo (IRE) 5-2 (11-2) Led early, headed after 1st, always prominent, no impression and kept on same pace from before last,, 3rd of 16, 4l behind Lucky Bridle (11-7) at Thurles 2m 4yo mdn hdl gd in Nov.
The Winkler (IRE) 9-2 (11-3) Tracked leaders in 4th, closed up going well from 4f out, 2nd 3f out, led from 1f out, stayed on well and joined near finish, just prevailed on line, won at Galway 2m 4yo nhf hvy in Oct beating Like It A Lot (10-12) by ns, 10 ran.