The market will probably be the best guide to the chances of China Rock, Hugo de Vindecy and Sergent Guib's, who all return from lay-offs of differing lengths. The latter, a French import, is the least exposed but makes his first appearance in Ireland in decent company. Western Leader was runner-up in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree in 2010 and made a perfectly satisfactory reappearance behind Mikael D'Haguenet over C&D two weeks ago. His future surely lies over fences, however, and could struggle to get the better of the improving IPSOS DU BERLAIS, who didn't do a lot wrong when third to Boston Bob in a Grade 1 at Navan last month. Golanbrook lost his maiden tag at Gowran but needs to improve again to figure here.
China Rock (IRE) 25-1 (11-10) Mid-division, headway to track leader 4th(water), mistake 13th, lost place 4 out, weakened next, behind when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Long Run (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m 2f chs G1 (1) gd in Mar, 13 ran.
Hugo De Vindecy (FR) 15-8 (11-6) Soon tracked leaders in 3rd, ridden to challenge 2 out, soon led, clear before last, stayed on well run-in, won at Down Royal 2m 4f hdl hvy in Feb '10 beating Rubi Light (11-4) by 3l, 7 ran.
Sergent Guib's (FR) (10-7) won at Pau(FR) 2m 4yo hdl sft in Jan '10 beating Rosa D'anjou (10-10) by shd, 18 ran.
Western Leader (IRE) 4-1 (10-11) Led, ridden and headed entering straight, no extra in 2nd before last where slight mistake, kept on same pace, 2nd of 4, 8l behind Mikael D'Haguenet (11-12) at Punchestown 2m 4f hdl hvy in Dec.
Golanbrook (IRE) 5-4fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, led after 3 out, soon ridden, strongly pressed when left clear 2 out, 3L clear at last, kept on well run-in, all out to hold on at line, won at Gowran Park 2m 2f mdn hdl sft in Dec beating Are Ya Right Chief (11-12) by shd, 20 ran.
Ipsos Du Berlais (FR) 5-1 (11-10) Raced 3rd, 4th from 6th, ridden from 3 out, went 3rd after next, no impression on leaders, 3rd of 4, 6l behind Boston Bob (11-10) at Navan 2m 4f nov hdl G1 (1) hvy in Dec.