This has been won by some smart performers, including Sizing Europe in 2009. Sizing Granite may never match his stablemate's illustrious career but he's done well over hurdles and was always likely to do better when sent over the bigger obstacles. Sizing India, in the same ownership, is another bred for chasing and has had the benefit of a run over fences at Wexford in October. Howwoulduno has shown real ability but also some temperament and is best watched after refusing to jump off at Down Royal last week. STEPS TO FREEDOM will be a warm order and can hardly be opposed after his run behind Jezki and Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle at the Festival here. He's had three starts over fences and finished runner-up at short odds in each so punters should be wary though he's impossible to oppose.
Butney Rock 10-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, detached in last halfway, closer 5th 4 out, soon ridden, no impression in 5th from next, went moderate 4th run-in, 4th of 8, 10l behind Authinger (11-12) at Down Royal 2m 4f beg chase gf.
Howwoulduno (IRE) 11-4 (11-12) Behind leaders when veered left at start, took no part, in a race won by Authinger (11-12) at Down Royal 2m 4f beg chase gf, 8 ran.
Sarabad (FR) 9-4fav (11-10) Chased leaders, 7th halfway, ridden and weakened 4 out, tailed off, 11th of 12, 47l behind Sherika (10-5) at Thurles 2m 4f hcp hdl 8Evens23 sft in Jan.
Sizing Granite (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Chased leader, 2nd halfway, ridden in 3rd 2 out, no extra entering straight, weakened, 9th of 10, well behind Le Vent D'Antan (11-12) at Punchestown 2m 4f hdl in Apr.
Sizing India (IRE) 5-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders, 3rd when bad mistake 4 out, soon ridden, left 2nd 3 out, dropped to 3rd after 2 out, no extra before last, 3rd of 14, 22l behind Back Off Mate (11-11) at Wexford 2m 3f beg chs in Oct.
Steps To Freedom (IRE) 20-1 (11-12) Ran 3rd, not fluent 2 out, pushed along and no extra approaching last, last of 3, 16l behind Jezki (11-12) at Punchestown 2m hdl G1 (1).
Tynaghs Trooper (IRE) 50-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, ridden 3 out, no impression in moderate 8th before straight, kept on one pace, 7th of 12, 24l behind Theatre Mill (11-12) at Limerick 2m 1f beg chs gs in Apr.
Down Time (USA) 14-1 (10-2) Held up towards rear, ridden 3 out, stayed on in moderate 9th before straight, 4th before 2 out, 3rd after 2 out, no impression on leaders, kept on same pace, 3rd of 18, 8l behind Sarah Battle (10-9) at Limerick 3m nov hcp hdl 80-102 gs in Apr.