slight peck 1st, held up in 4th early, moderate 3rd before 4th where slight mistake, closer 3 out, mistake 2 out, travelled well to challenge before last, ridden to lead last, kept on well run-in
chased leader in moderate 2nd, slight mistakes 3rd and 4 out, closer 3 out, slight mistake 2 out, improved to lead early straight, ridden and challenged before last, headed and mistake last, no extra run-in, kept on same pace
held up in rear, 4th from 4th, no impression after 4 out, kept on one pace
chased leaders in moderate 3rd early, dropped to rear at 4th, soon no impression, weakened and tailed off
led and clear, reduced advantage 3 out, ridden and headed early straight, no extra in 3rd before last where slight mistake, kept on one pace
HURRICANE FLY has won this for the past two years and the record breaking Grade 1 winner will be as difficult to beat as ever. He lost his championship crowns here and at Cheltenham last season to Jezki and though the latter had twice been beaten by Willie Mullins great champion earlier he produced the goods when it mattered and at four years younger he's entitled to have more progress in him. However, Hurricane Fly is unlikely to have another champion hurdle in him and his trainer may have got him ready to complete a hat-trick of victories and add another Grade 1 to his tally so gets the vote. Colin Bowe has placed the mare Little King Robin brilliantly to win eight times over hurdles including her last four. She keeps on improving as her victory in a Down Royal Grade 2 last month suggests and she won't be disgraced in this exalted company.
Hurricane Fly (IRE) Evens (11-12) Tracked leader in 2nd, ridden approaching last, no impression on winner run-in, 2nd of 3, 3 1/2l behind Jezki (11-12) at Punchestown 2m hdl G1 (1) in May.
Jezki (IRE) 4-5fav (11-12) Made all, jumped left 2nd and 4 out, ridden and 1 length advantage when jumped left last, kept on well under pressure to assert run-in, won at Punchestown 2m hdl G1 (1) in May beating Hurricane Fly (11-12) by 3 1/2l, 3 ran.
King of The Picts (IRE) 33-1 (11-5) Tracked leaders, moderate 3rd halfway, ridden from 4 out, moderate 5th when iron broke and rider left without irons before next, kept on same pace from 2 out, 4th of 7, 19l behind Little King Robin (10-12) at Down Royal 2m hdl G2 (1) in Oct.
Lethal Weapon (IRE) 11-2 (10-1) Chased leader, hampered 2nd and dropped to rear, pushed along and closer in 5th before 2 out, no extra approaching straight, 6th of 7, 24l behind Quarton (10-1) at Kilbeggan 2m 4f hcp chs in Aug.
Little King Robin (IRE) 9-2 (10-12) Led and soon clear, well clear from 4th, reduced advantage 3 out, ridden and strongly pressed next, headed before last rallied well run-in, regained lead inside final furlong, stayed on well, won at Down Royal 2m hdl G2 (1) in Oct beating Arctic Fire (11-2) by 3l, 7 ran.