STONEMASTER doesn't have as much experience over fences as most of these and is still a maiden but he's 19lb lower than over hurdles and the booking of Ruby Walsh suggests Dessie Hughes means business. He's handed the vote though Bruff was in such good form when last seen in the autumn that he would be an obvious threat if ready for action. Dont Tell De Purty had dropped to a very lowly mark when scoring at Gowran and with just a 4lb rise to contend with has to be on the short-list along with Pigeon Creek, who started favourite in that race but unseated his rider. Loughnagall hasn't had much racing for his age but could hardly have won a beginners' chase more easily when last seen at Kilbeggan in August while Captain Luke was having only his third start over fences on that track earlier this month when headed right on the line by Prince Of Forwards.
Agus A Vic (IRE) 12-1 (11-1) Held up behind, headway into mid-division 11th, badly hampered and pulled up after 5 out, in a race won by Qhilimar (11-11) at Tramore 2m 6f Conditional Handicap Chase (0-123) (5yo+) sft in Apr, 12 ran.
Loughnagall (IRE) 9-10fav (11-12) Chased leaders, went in pursuit of pace-setter approaching 8th, on terms 4 out and soon led, quick jump and sent on from next, stayed on well straight, comfortably, won at Kilbeggan 3m 1f beg chs sft in Aug beating Scholars Mate (11-12) by 12l, 10 ran.
Good Fella (IRE) 12-1 (11-2) Mid-division, ridden from 3 out, kept on same pace, 8th of 24, 13l behind Followmeuptocarlow (10-2) at Fairyhouse 3m hcp hdl 8Evens23 gs in Apr.
Stonemaster (IRE) 13-8 (11-0) Led, headed 6th, pushed along in 2nd after 4 out, challenged entering straight, ridden to lead 2 out, narrowly headed approaching last, no extra run-in, kept on same pace, 2nd of 4, 1l behind Dancing Tornado (10-7) at Thurles 3m hdl gd in Apr.
Highdownhill (NZ) 9-2 (11-2) Mid-division, ridden in 5th 3 out, weakened, 7th of 11, 48l behind Tarquinius (10-9) at Fairyhouse 3m 1f hcp chs 0-123 hvy in Jan.
Pigeon Creek (IRE) 3-1 (11-7) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, improved to narrow lead before 4 out, ridden approaching 2 out where headed, under pressure in 2nd last, kept on again run-in, just held, 2nd of 9, 1/2l behind Coolnagorna Giggs (11-12) at Ballinrobe 2m 6f beg chase sft in Apr.
Bruff (IRE) 4-1 (10-6) Mid-division, headway into 4th 3 out, led next, ridden clear last, stayed on strongly, easily, won at Ballinrobe 2m 6f cnd hcp chs (0-109) sft in Sep beating Western Star (10-4) by 11l, 15 ran.
Daring Article (IRE) 14-1 (11-1) Towards rear, pushed along after 5 out, moderate 9th early straight, kept on one pace without threatening, 5th of 12, 29l behind Solstice Knight (10-12) at Fairyhouse 2m 6f nov hcp chs 0-123 in Apr.
Weslife (IRE) 50-1 (9-10) Soon towards rear, no extra from 4 out, pulled up before 3 out, in a race won by Carrig Millie (9-11) at Punchestown 3m 1f hcp chs 0-150 hvy in Apr, 14 ran.
Healys Bar (IRE) 25-1 (10-7) Towards rear, mistake 1st, closer in 7th at 10th, weakened from 4 out, 8th of 14, well behind Wise Oscar (10-8) at Navan 3m hcp chs 0-123 sft in Mar.
Shellys Creek (IRE) 14-1 (11-9) Tracked leaders, headed 8th, led again 4 out, ridden and headed 2 out, kept on same pace from last, 3rd of 20, 3/4l behind Lord Alfie (11-1) at Fairyhouse 2m 5f hcp chs 0-102 gs in Apr.
Captain Luke (IRE) 12-1 (10-12) Soon tracked leaders, 2nd 2 out, closed from before last, gained narrow lead run-in, headed close home, 2nd of 13, nk behind Prince Of Forwards (10-6) at Kilbeggan 3m 1f hcp chs 0-109 sft.
The Mull (IRE) 20-1 (10-10) Led and disputed early, 3rd from 6th, 2nd and mistake 6 out, weakened, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Hillman (10-3) at Wexford 3m 1f hcp chs 0-116 sft in Apr, 15 ran.
The Baler (IRE) 8-1 (12-0) Alw in rr, pu 2out, 9th of 13, 36l behind Kanesh (12-0) at Castletown-Geoghegan 3m ire ptp in Apr.
What A Island (IRE) 20-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, 5th 4 out, ridden from next, no impression, 10th of 20, 29l behind Lord Alfie (11-1) at Fairyhouse 2m 5f hcp chs 0-102 gs in Apr.
Spiker The Biker (IRE) 33-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, 3rd when fell 19th, in a race won by Big Shu (12-3) at Punchestown 4m 1f crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Apr, 17 ran.
Dont Tell De Purty 9-2 (9-7) Chased leader in 2nd, improved to lead after 4 out, ridden and kept on well from after 3 out, won at Gowran Park 3m 1f hcp chs 0-116 gd in Apr beating Dark Vagabond (9-12) by 1 3/4l, 8 ran.
Lusiad (IRE) 25-1 (10-5) Tracked leaders, improved to lead and ridden 2 out, headed before last, kept on same pace run-in, 4th of 20, 2l behind Lord Alfie (11-1) at Fairyhouse 2m 5f hcp chs 0-102 gs in Apr.
Western Star (IRE) 5-1fav (11-2) Mid-division, pushed along in 6th 3 out and no impression in 8th early straight, kept on one pace, 7th of 21, 36l behind Highdownhill (11-12) at Punchestown 3m 1f am hcp ch 0-102 hvy in Oct.
Too Late To Sell (IRE) 20-1 (9-10) Chased leaders early, soon mid-division, 8th halfway, headway into 4th 5 out, ridden in 4th and no impression leaders 3 out, closer in 3rd 2 out, no extra entering straight, kept on one pace, 3rd of 15, 19l behind Hillman (10-3) at Wexford 3m 1f hcp chs 0-116 sft in Apr.