held up, 3rd to clear leader at 6th, closer before 8th, slight mistake 4 out, travelled well to dispute 3 out, 2nd 2 out, no impression on leader before last where not fluent, kept on one pace
tracked clear leader, closer in 2nd before 8th, travelled well to lead before 3 out, joined 3 out where not fluent, led narrowly 2 out where slight mistake, asserted before last where not fluent, kept on well, comfortably
Cracking Smart had to work hard to beat Shady Operator at Punchestown though did it well in the end and is an obvious contender though Willie Mullins looks to hold the key. Robin Des Foret had 7l to spare over stable companion FABULOUS SAGA in a Listed contest over 2m5f at Limerick but Ruby Walsh must believe the runner-up is capable of reversing the form over this longer trip so his mount gets the nod. Balakani was a fortunate winner at Limerick and the remaining trio have plenty of improving to do against this opposition.
Fabulous Saga (FR) 8-11fav (11-6) Led, 2 lengths clear at 6th, reduced advantage after 7th, not fluent at 8th and almost joined, headed after 2 out, no impression on winner before last, kept on one pace, 2nd of 7, 7l behind Robin Des Foret (11-6) at Limerick 2m 5f lst (1) sft in Oct.
Robin Des Foret (IRE) 7-2 (11-6) Raced 3rd, not fluent 3 out, travelled well and closed in 2nd before 2 out, led after 2 out, asserted before last, kept on well, easily, won at Limerick 2m 5f lst (1) sft in Oct beating Fabulous Saga (11-6) by 7l, 7 ran.
Cracking Smart (FR) 4-7fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, 5th halfway, 3rd 4 out, travelled well to dispute after 2 out, led before last, ridden and ran around slightly approaching last, kept on well run-in, comfortably, won at Punchestown 2m 4f mdn Yielding - Soft in Oct beating Shady Operator (11-7) by 4l, 22 ran.
Balakani (FR) 8-1 (11-0) Tracked leader, 2nd at 4th, closer after 5th, niggled along after 3 out, soon no impression on leader, left in lead 2 out where not fluent, kept on, fortunate, won at Limerick 2m 2f sft in Oct beating Penneys Hun (11-0) by 9l, 3 ran.
High Nellie (IRE) 12-1 (11-3) Led, jumped slightly right at times, pushed along after 3 out, headed before 2 out, soon dropped to 3rd, no extra in last run-in, last of 4, 6 1/2l behind Court Artist (11-3) at Wexford 2m 4f hvy in Oct.
Snugsborough Benny (IRE) 33-1 (11-12) Held up towards rear, ridden and no impression 3 out, soon no extra, 7th of 11, dist behind Dinaria Des Obeaux (10-10) at Wexford 2m sft in Oct.
The Rory Story (IRE) 5-2 (11-5) Chased leader, 3rd at 6th, 4th 3 out, weakened to 7th before last, no extra run-in, last of 8, 29 3/4l behind Just Janice (11-1) at Galway 2m 4f Soft - Heavy in Oct.