SALSIFY begins his build-up to the main hunters' events and it will be a shock if he's beaten. Last season's Foxhunters winner fell at Fairyhouse before winning one of the best hunters' races for some time at Stratford in June and should be fit enough to defy a break. Tammys Hill is one of the country's top point-to-pointers and is no slouch over regulation fences having easily won two hunter chases in the spring. He's the obvious danger if the selection needs the run though Merchant Royal had some strong form for Dermot Weld and ran well for a long way in the championship event at Cheltenham. The lightly-raced youngster By Design looks best of the remainder.
Merchant Royal (IRE) 11-2 (12-0) Alw pr, cl up bef 3out, rdn bef 2out on terms, wknd last, no ex late, 7th of 14, 32l behind Slippers Percy (11-4) at Loughanmore 3m ire ptp hvy in Nov.
Salsify (IRE) 6-4fav (12-0) Held up towards rear, steady headway approaching 4 out, went 3rd travelling well 2 out, quickened to lead last, soon clear, won at Stratford 3m 4f hts chs (2) gd in Jun beating That's Rhythm (12-0) by 2 1/4l, 14 ran.
Tammys Hill (IRE) 2-5 (12-0) Alw pr, cl up 3out, chall 2out, went on last, hdd close home, 2nd of 14, 1/2l behind Slippers Percy (11-4) at Loughanmore 3m ire ptp hvy in Nov.
By Design (IRE) 9-2 (11-7) Tracked leaders, 3rd 6f out, ridden in 3rd entering straight, kept on same pace from 2f out, 3rd of 15, 4l behind Minella For Value (11-9) at Cork 2m 4f NH flat gd in Apr.
Caddy Man (IRE) 10-1 (12-0) Chsd ldrs, 5th at 9th & rddn in 4th 5out, wknd aftr 4out & mod 5th bef 3out, lft 4th 2out, 4th of 13, 19l behind Nedzer's Return (12-0) at Affane 3m ire ptp sft in Nov.
Cock And Hen (IRE) 5-2 (12-0) Mid div,7th halfway,prog to 3rd 5out, pu 4out, in a race won by Ohshikuru (11-4) at Laurencetown 3m ire ptp gs in May, 16 ran.
Knocksquire (IRE) 20-1 (11-12) Mid-division, never a factor, no threat in straight, 11th of 16, 36l behind Play The Market (11-11) at Naas 2m mdn hdl sft in Feb.
Nothinaddedbuttime (IRE) 5-1 (12-0) Ld til jnd 2out, not go with wnr, ko, 3rd of 8, 7l behind General Maccreevy (12-0) at Kirkistown 3m ire ptp sft in Nov.
Onefortheroad Mac (IRE) 5-1 (12-0) Tr ldrs, cl up 4th 2out, eff aftr 2out, kow but not get on terms, 3rd of 14, 1 1/2l behind Slippers Percy (11-4) at Loughanmore 3m ire ptp hvy in Nov.
Russian Regent (IRE) 6-1 (12-0) Mid div, prog to tr ldrs 3out, not qckn 2out but kow, 4th of 14, 11l behind Tammys Hill (12-0) at Glenbane 3m ire ptp gd in Oct.
Mandy Carroll (IRE) 4-1 (10-13) Tr ldrs, mstke 6th, 3rd 1/2way, dropped to 4th and no extra str, 4th of 10, 6l behind Viking Splash (12-0) at Ballinaboola 3m ire ptp gs in Nov.