Willie Mullins has won this four times in the last eight years but all started at double-figure odds. He has four chances this year headed by Betfair Hurdle second Bleu Et Rouge and Punchestown Listed winner Meri Devie. Joseph O’Brien runs three with last year’s sixth Ivanovich Gorbatov possibly the pick. A Hare Breath had William H Bonney and Jenkins behind when winning a Listed handicap at Sandown in December and Dan Skelton will be hoping either Spiritofthegames or Mohaayed can follow up Superb Story’s win in this two years ago. The former was a place behind Bleu Et Rouge at Newbury but is 8lb better off and should get much closer. FLYING TIGER and Divin Bere were first and second in last year’s Fred Winter here. The latter is better off at the weights but hasn’t really fired this season whereas there has been some promise in the former’s runs in smart company at Wincanton and Newcastle and he’ll handle conditions better than most. Duca De Thaix is lightly raced and making his handicap debut but was a long way behind Sandsend in a Grade 3 at Naas last time.
Bleu Et Rouge (FR) 10-1 (11-10) Held up towards rear, steady headway on inside approaching 3 out, chased leaders 2 out, went 2nd before the last, stayed on same pace run-in, no chance with winner, 2nd of 24, 4 1/2l behind Kalashnikov (11-5) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) sft in Feb.
Jenkins (IRE) 8-1cfav (11-12) Raced keenly, tracked leader, led 4th until approaching 3 out, chased leader until after 3 out, weakened before next, 16th of 24, dist behind Kalashnikov (11-5) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) sft in Feb.
Ivanovich Gorbatov (IRE) 33-1 (11-7) Chased leaders early, lost place and no extra 2 out, 21st of 28, dist behind Off You Go (9-10) at Leopardstown 2m hcp sft in Feb.
Tigris River (IRE) 33-1 (11-7) Mid-division early, no impression from 2 out, bad mistake last, 19th of 28, 25 3/4l behind Off You Go (9-10) at Leopardstown 2m hcp sft in Feb.
Lagostovegas (IRE) 6-4fav (10-8) Held up, 5th halfway, progress into 3rd before 3 out, mistake 2 out, soon ridden, no impression on leaders last, kept on same pace, 3rd of 6, 4 1/2l behind Forge Meadow (11-3) at Gowran Park 2m (1) hvy in Feb.
Le Richebourg (FR) 50-1 (11-9) Soon tracked leaders, 3rd after 3rd, no extra approaching last, 8th of 11, 20 1/4l behind Samcro (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m (1) sft in Feb.
A Hare Breath (IRE) 8-1 (11-11) In touch, smooth progress approaching 2 out, every chance from last, stayed on strongly to lead closing stages, won at Sandown 2m hcp lst (1) gs in Dec beating Caid Du Lin (11-4) by 1/2l, 11 ran.
Sandsend (FR) 11-4 (10-13) Chased leaders, mainly 3rd, slight mistake 3 out, improved to press leader 2 out, soon ridden, stayed on to dispute run-in, just prevailed close home, won at Naas 2m (1) Soft - Heavy in Jan beating Forge Meadow (11-3) by nk, 7 ran.
Remiluc (FR) 3-1 (11-12) Keen tracked leaders, ridden 2 out, chased winner approaching last, kept on one pace, 2nd of 6, 4l behind Landin (10-6) at Lingfield 2m 3f hcp (2) hvy in Mar.
Sternrubin (GER) 7-4 (11-2) Tracked leader, left in lead 2nd, pushed along when headed 3 out, no chance with very easy winner, 2nd of 4, 29l behind Dolos (10-8) at Ascot 2m 3f (3) gs in Nov.
Moon Racer (IRE) 25-1 (11-6) Always towards rear, never on terms, 11th of 24, 33 1/4l behind Kalashnikov (11-5) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) sft in Feb.
Brelade 5-4fav (11-12) Tracked leader in 2nd, dropped to 4th at 3rd, progress into 2nd entering straight, soon ridden, no impression on winner before last, dropped to 3rd and no extra inside final furlong, 3rd of 7, 9 1/4l behind Castlegrace Paddy (11-12) at Fairyhouse 2m hvy in Dec.
Meri Devie (FR) 5-4fav (10-9) Soon raced in 2nd, on terms before 8th, soon led, joined 3 out, led again before straight, went on from before last where slight mistake, stayed on well run-in, comfortably, won at Punchestown 2m 4f lst (1) Soft - Heavy in Feb beating Alletrix (10-9) by 5l, 6 ran.
Whiskey Sour (IRE) 25-1 (11-9) Held up, 8th after 3rd, slight mistake 3 out, no impression approaching straight, some headway to chase leaders when slight mistake last, kept on same pace without threatening, 4th of 11, 12 1/2l behind Samcro (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m (1) sft in Feb.
Divin Bere (FR) 50-1 (11-8) Always towards rear, tailed off, 20th of 24, dist behind Kalashnikov (11-5) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) sft in Feb.
Flying Tiger (IRE) 8-1 (11-4) Held up in rear off the pace, closed after 3 out, ridden and not quicken before last, stayed on same pace flat, 4th of 6, 5l behind Elgin (11-6) at Wincanton 1m 7f (1) sft in Feb.
All Set To Go (IRE) 7-2jfav (11-10) In touch, went 2nd before 3 out, challenged last, soon led, kept on well towards finish, won at Doncaster 2m 1f hcp (2) gd in Dec beating Eyes Of A Tiger (10-5) by 4l, 10 ran.
Chesterfield (IRE) 5-1 (11-4) Held up in 5th, headway over 3f out, went 2nd over 1f out, led final 150 yards, soon clear, ran on well, won at Kempton 2m (4) pol in Mar beating Zubayr (11-4) by 2l, 7 ran.
Spiritofthegames (IRE) 20-1 (11-3) Held up towards rear, steady headway approaching 3 out, chased leaders next, went modest 3rd last, 3rd of 24, 12 1/2l behind Kalashnikov (11-5) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) sft in Feb.
Ben Dundee (IRE) 7-1 (10-8) Tracked leaders, on terms 2 out, soon led, headed approaching last, soon no extra, 10th of 28, 13l behind Off You Go (9-10) at Leopardstown 2m hcp sft in Feb.
Mohaayed 20-1 (11-7) Held up disputing 3rd. went clear 3rd 2out, not pace of first 2, 3rd of 4, 6l behind Buveur D'Air (11-7) at Kempton 2m (1) sft in Dec.
Smaoineamh Alainn (IRE) 7-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, lost place 4th, closed next, 3rd last, led flat, stayed on well, won at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp (3) sft in Dec beating Remiluc (11-12) by 2l, 10 ran.
Duca De Thaix (FR) 11-4 (11-6) Settled behind leaders, 5th halfway, pushed along and closer 2 out, ridden in 4th before last, no extra from last, 6th of 7, 22 3/4l behind Sandsend (10-13) at Naas 2m (1) Soft - Heavy in Jan.
William H Bonney 20-1 (10-12) Towards rear, steady headway before 2 out, weakened between last 2, hit last, 8th of 24, 24 1/4l behind Kalashnikov (11-5) at Newbury 2m hcp (1) sft in Feb.
I Shot The Sheriff (IRE) 33-1 (11-4) Always behind, tailed off and pulled up before 2 out, at Kempton 2m 5f hcp lst (1) sft in Jan.
Krugermac (IRE) 5-2fav (10-9) Raced on inside, off the pace in 4th place, closer 6th, weakened after 3 out, 6th of 8, 32 1/2l behind Dicosimo (12-0) at Fontwell 2m 3f hcp (3) sft in Mar.
Brahms De Clermont (FR) 9-4fav (11-4) Raced wide, tracked leader until pushed long over 3f out, chased leaders, ridden and outpaced over 2f out, plugged on inside final furlong, 4th of 8, 5 1/4l behind Grapevine (11-4) at Kempton 2m (5) pol in Mar.