Competitive Listed fare in which it will be fascinating to see how Waaheb takes to this higher level after cruising home on his hurdling debut in October after a lengthy absence, his previous run coming when a fine second in a Grade 1 bumper at the festival here in 2011. He has plenty of scope for improvement, likewise Balnaslow, who has landed a point-to-point, bumper and maiden hurdle on his last three starts. It's interesting to see the Irish champion trainer send him straight into this level of competition and it will be well worth noting to see how the market reacts to the aforementioned pair. Rory O'Moore, a confirmed trailblazer, should ensure a furious gallop but was comfortably beaten by Shrapnel when the pair met at Galway in October and is not fancied to turn the tables on 3lb better terms. SHRAPNEL has since gone on to comfortably account for Turban at Fairyhouse and looks the safest option in an intriguing affair.
Shrapnel (IRE) 2-1 (11-12) Prominent in chasing group, appeared to race a bit idly at times, ridden to lead before straight, pressed and stayed on well from before last, won at Fairyhouse 2m hdl sft in Nov beating Turban (11-12) by 3l, 9 ran.
Balnaslow (IRE) 1-6fav (11-12) Made all, shaken up briefly last, easily, won at Punchestown 2m 5yo mdn hdl in May beating Captain Lob (11-12) by 1 1/4l, 8 ran.
Captain Arceus (IRE) 4-1 (11-1) Chased leaders, 5th halfway, ridden and no extra entering straight, last of 7, 29l behind Sizing Rio (10-12) at Navan 2m nov hdl Grd 3 (1) in Nov.
Home Farm (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Soon led, slight mistake 3 out, left clear from next, stayed on well, easily, won at Thurles 2m 2f Maiden Hurdle (5-6yo) in Nov beating Admiral Hawke (10-13) by 17l, 16 ran.
Rory O'Moore (IRE) 11-4 (11-12) Prominent racing keely and led after 2nd, clear from next, mistake 3 out, stayed on well in straight, very easily, won at Naas 2m mdn hdl in Nov beating Operating (11-12) by 31l, 14 ran.
Too Scoops (IRE) 5-2 (11-4) Raced in 3rd, not entirely fluent 3rd, went in pursuit of winner into straight, not getting there and kept on same pace from after 2 out, 2nd of 5, 6l behind Whatever Jacksays (11-10) at Listowel 2m 4f nh nov hdl hvy in Sep.
Waaheb (USA) 8-13fav (11-4) Held up early, progress into 4th 4 out, 3rd on outer travelling well 2 out, led before last, pushed out and stayed on well run-in, easily, won at Fairyhouse 2m hdl sft in Oct beating Silver Friend (11-10) by 7l, 7 ran.
Foxrock (IRE) 4-5 (11-7) Alw pr, ld after 4th, chall gng to 4th last, 2l ld at last, kow, won at Loughrea 3m ire ptp hvy in Oct beating Minellahalfcentury (11-7) by 2l, 11 ran.