led to after 4th, tracked leader, lost place when pecked 3 out, chased front pair when switched inside between last 2, ridden and switched right after last, rallied flat, not quite able to get back on terms near finish
tracked leaders, joined leader going well 3 out, mistake and shaken up after next, ridden to lead narrowly after last, stayed on well under pressure flat, joined near finish, just prevailed on nod
Faugheen runs in this rather than the RSA Chase. He is 3-3 over fences and would bring the house down if following up his defeat of three other Mullins’ novices in the Flogas at Leopardstown but he had a hard race that day and, despite his pedigree, 12-year-olds just don’t win tough races like this at The Festival, though he did beat the disappointing Samcro 10 lengths at Limerick on Boxing Day. ITCHY FEET beat Midnight Shadow in the Scilly Isles at Sandown and that is normally a good trial for this. He was third in last year’s Supreme Novices’ and looks a high-class recruit to chasing. Melon and Reserve Tank are both Grade 1 winners over hurdles but still have a bit to prove over the larger obstacles while Mister Fisher still has it all to prove at this level despite having beaten a small field in a Grade 2 at Doncaster last time.
Bapaume (FR) 9-2 (11-10) Tracked leaders, 4th 3 out, soon ridden, dropped to moderate last next, weakened, eased inside final furlong, last of 6, dist behind Notebook (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m 1f (1) Yielding in Feb.
Faugheen (IRE) 13-8jfav (11-10) Raced in 2nd, pecked at 1st, not fluent 8th and 9th, improved to dispute lead on inner before 2 out, not fluent 2 out, led travelling well entering straight, ridden and narrow lead approaching last, stayed on well run-in, all out close home, won at Leopardstown 2m 5f (1) Yielding in Feb beating Easy Game (11-10) by 1/2l, 7 ran.
Itchy Feet (FR) 7-1 (11-4) Held up in last pair, mistake 4th, outpaced 8th, rallied disputing close 2nd when pecked 2 out, 2nd again before the last, ridden to lead run-in, stayed on strongly, won at Sandown 2m 4f (1) sft in Feb beating Midnight Shadow (11-4) by 3 1/2l, 7 ran.
Melon 4-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders in 3rd, mistake 6th, 3rd when mistake 3 out and ridden, dropped to moderate 4th after next, no impression from before last, 4th of 6, 19 3/4l behind Notebook (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m 1f (1) Yielding in Feb.
Midnight Shadow 10-1 (11-4) Chased leaders, went 2nd 2 out, led soon after, ridden and headed before the last, stayed on same pace run-in, no chance with winner, 2nd of 7, 3 1/2l behind Itchy Feet (11-4) at Sandown 2m 4f (1) sft in Feb.
Mister Fisher (IRE) 6-5fav (11-3) Tracked leaders on inside, hit 3rd, slightly outpaced 3 out, switched out and challenged next, led before the last, driven out, won at Doncaster 2m (1) gs in Jan beating Al Dancer (11-3) by 1l, 4 ran.
Poker Play (FR) 10-1 (10-3) In rear, blundered and behind 11th, 10th of 12, dist behind Oldgrangewood (10-7) at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp (1) sft in Jan.
Reserve Tank (IRE) 1-2fav (11-7) Jumped left and never fluent, led, mistake 7th, jumped slowly 11th, headed after 13th, chased leader, ridden before 3 out where every chance, chased winner 2 out, ridden and one pace run-in, no chance with winner, 2nd of 3, 4l behind Danny Whizzbang (11-2) at Newbury 2m 7f (1) gs in Nov.
Samcro (IRE) 4-6fav (11-10) Tracked leaders, 2nd halfway, not fluent 9th, progress to dispute from 5 out, led narrowly 3 out, joined again before straight, ridden and not fluent 2 out, no impression before last, kept on one pace, 2nd of 7, 10l behind Faugheen (11-10) at Limerick 2m 4f (1) hvy in Dec.
Tornado Flyer (IRE) 11-1 (11-10) Tracked leaders disputing 3rd, bad mistake 3 out, close 4th 2 out, ridden entering straight, 3rd before last, no extra in 3rd inside final furlong, 3rd of 7, 6 1/2l behind Faugheen (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m 5f (1) Yielding in Feb.
Saint Sonnet (FR) 1-5fav (11-2) Pressed leader on outside, led narrowly before 9th, hard pressed when not fluent 3 out and again last, pushed out and in command flat, readily, won at Catterick 2m 3f (4) hvy in Feb beating Crixus's Escape (10-12) by 3 3/4l, 5 ran.
Annie Mc (IRE) 4-5fav (11-10) Tracked leader, led 8th, pressed 2 out, soon shaken up, kept on strongly, won at Bangor-on-Dee 2m 4f (4) sft in Feb beating If You Say Run (11-4) by 5 1/2l, 3 ran.