Unbeaten to date and with three Grade 1 victories to her name, Honeysuckle would have been a hot favourite for this most years but BENIE DES DIEUX would have won this easily last year had she not taken off a stride too soon jumping the last. She won the contest in 2018 when having her first run over hurdles for Willie Mullins and looked as good as ever in her prep run at Gowran in January, her first outing since May. Her yard also run Stormy Ireland and Elfile and both are capable of picking up some place money. Roksana was the one to profit from the selection’s mishap 12 months ago and she was more like her old self when second here in January. Lady Buttons has been a fabulous servant to Phil Kirby but she was only fourth last year.
Benie Des Dieux (FR) Evensfav (11-3) Tracked leaders, 3rd travelling well before 3 out, led after 3 out, went well clear from 2 out, stayed on strongly run-in, very easily, impressive, won at Gowran Park 3m (1) Soft - Heavy in Jan beating Penhill (11-3) by 21l, 6 ran.
Cap Soleil (FR) 7-2cfav (11-0) Held up towards rear, took keen hold, headway 4 out, pushed along after 3 out, weakened from 2 out, 5th of 8, 20 1/4l behind Indefatigable (11-2) at Warwick 2m 5f lst (1) gs in Feb.
Desaray Girl (FR) 7-1 (11-7) Chased leaders, not fluent 1st, weakened 2 out (normal 3 out, 4th of 6, 33 1/4l behind Emmas Joy (11-2) at Warwick 2m 3f (1) hvy in Feb.
Elfile (FR) 6-4 (11-3) Disputed lead, headed 3rd and chased leader in close 2nd, improved to lead after 3 out, ridden after next, strongly pressed approaching last, stayed on well run-in, won at Punchestown 2m 4f (1) hvy in Feb beating Black Tears (10-11) by 2 1/2l, 5 ran.
Honeysuckle 8-11fav (11-3) Tracked leaders on outer, took keen hold early and soon 2nd, not fluent at 2nd, travelling well entering straight, led before last, ridden and joined briefly after last, rallied to lead inside final furlong, pressed close home, kept on well, won at Leopardstown 2m (1) Yielding in Feb beating Darver Star (11-10) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
Lady Buttons 6-4jfav (11-6) Held up in 4th place, challenged on bit 2 out, led run-in, soon hung right, ridden and quickened clear, impressive, won at Doncaster 2m 1f (1) gs in Jan beating Irish Roe (11-0) by 2 3/4l, 6 ran.
Popong (IRE) 7-1 (11-6) Rear of mid-division on inner, headway into 5th 3 out, ridden in 4th entering straight, disputed lead briefly before last, mistake and headed at last, kept on under pressure inside final furlong, 2nd of 9, 1/2l behind Anything Will Do (11-1) at Punchestown 2m sft in Nov.
Roksana (IRE) 7-2 (10-13) Raced keenly, held up in touch, effort to challenge last, stayed on, no impression on winner final 75 yards, 2nd of 6, 2 1/4l behind Summerville Boy (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 4f (1) sft in Jan.
Stormy Ireland (FR) 3-10fav (11-1) Tracked leader in 2nd and raced clear of remainder, improved to dispute lead briefly 3 out, close 2nd entering straight, led 2 out and pushed along, soon went clear, stayed on well run-in, comfortably, won at Naas 2m (1) Yielding - Soft in Jan beating Franco De Port (11-3) by 6l, 7 ran.
Crossgalesfamegame (IRE) 11-2 (11-6) Held up in mid-division, headway chasing leaders 3 out, outpaced before last, plugged on run-in, 3rd of 10, 1 3/4l behind Bond's Lover (11-0) at Newbury 2m 5f (4) hvy in Jan.