SO YOUNG, who is still in Saturday's Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown as well as all the top novice events at Cheltenham, is expected to make a high-class performer and should take this before heading on to better things. A three-times winner in French bumpers, he made an impressive start for Willie Mullins at Leopardstown though it must be said that the form of that event hasn't worked out too well. He'll get a stiffer test here from Big Game Hunter, who has only won once over timber but has been contesting much better events and has been placed in Grade 1 company. The Pier was very fortunate to gain his maiden success at Thurles when Lios A Choill fell at the last with the race at his mercy but that was an improved performance and he progressed nicely on the Flat. Useful chaser Kilcrea Castle returns from a long absence but should be watched for future plans.
Big Game Hunter (IRE) 8-1 (11-0) Raced in 2nd, ridden 3 out, weakened after 2 out, last of 7, 20l behind Gagewell Flyer (11-8) at Punchestown 2m nov hdl Grade 2 (1) sft in Jan.
So Young (FR) 7-4fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, 5th halfway, smooth headway into 2nd before 2 out, led entering straight and soon stretched clear, mistake last, stayed on well, very easily, won at Leopardstown 2m 4f 4yo mdn hdl in Dec beating Harpsy Cord (11-7) by 16l, 24 ran.
The Pier (IRE) 7-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders, progress into 3rd entering straight, soon ridden, 3rd after 2 out, left close 2nd at last, kept on well run-in, led close home, won at Thurles 2m mdn hdl in Jan beating Shannon Spirit (11-12) by nk, 18 ran.
Heavy Duty (IRE) 50-1 (11-2) Tracked leaders in 4th, closer in 4th 2 out, soon ridden, kept on same pace straight, 4th of 8, 9l behind Far Away So Close (11-6) at Punchestown 2m nh nov hdl gd in Oct.
Kilcrea Castle (IRE) 12-1 (10-12) Behind, headway 10th, blundered 15th, pulled up before 19th, in a race won by Church Island (10-5) at Sandown 3m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gd in Apr, 19 ran.
Moscow Storm (IRE) 11-2 (11-4) Mid-division, slight mistake 4 out, went moderate 2nd before straight, ridden to close when hit 2 out, not fluent last, no impression and kept on same pace run-in, 2nd of 13, 8l behind Gala Dancer (11-4) at Fairyhouse 2m 2f mdn hdl gf in Oct.