Big Zeb has won this for the past three years and beaten some high-class performers in doing so. He is probably starting to feel his age judging on his later starts last season but there's no doubt he goes well fresh and he'll take some beating though FLEMENSTAR is the new pretender in the ranks of senior chasers. He had a brilliant novice campaign, winning two Grade 1s, and looking a potential star so in receipt of 3lb should take care of the former champion. Realt Dubh was a long way in front of Big Zeb when runner-up to Sizing Europe at Punchestown in April and has the advantage of a recent run but the remaining pair will need massive improvement to get involved.
Big Zeb (IRE) 13-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders in 4th, closer in 2nd 4 out, ridden and dropped to 3rd after next, no impression on leaders straight, onepaced, 3rd of 6, 21l behind Sizing Europe (11-12) at Punchestown 2m chs G1 (1) gs in Apr.
Realt Dubh (IRE) 9-2 (11-10) Waited with early, soon chased leaders, close up from before 6 out, travelling well from 3 out, mistake and no extra from next, kept on same pace, 4th of 8, 13l behind Kauto Stone (11-10) at Down Royal 3m Grade 1 chs (1) gs.
Mr Cracker (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Chased leaders, weakened approaching 2 out, completely tailed off, 7th of 8, well behind Selection Box (10-1) at Galway 2m 6f hcp chs hvy in Oct.
Flemenstar (IRE) 11-10fav (11-10) Raced in 2nd, close up 4 out, led next, clear into straight, stayed on strongly, impressive, won at Fairyhouse 2m 4f nov chs G1 (1) gd in Apr beating Rathlin (11-10) by 11l, 7 ran.
Foildubh (IRE) 7-4fav (11-5) Led, strongly pressed and headed before 2 out, ridden and no impression approaching last, kept on under pressure run-in but not match winner, 2nd of 5, 1 1/2l behind Hidden Cyclone (11-1) at Naas 2m chs Grade 3 (1) sft in Oct.