Dessie Hughes won this a year ago with Rivage D'Or and Golden Wonder will be fancied to complete a hat-trick after victories over hurdles and on his chasing bow at Galway. He's on the upgrade and must be on the short-list though the return to action of THEMOONANDSIXPENCE has been eagerly awaited. Willie Mullins' ten-year-old was beaten half-a-length in last year's Galway Plate but hasn't been seen since pulling up at Listowel a year ago. He'll have been primed for his return to action and is handed the vote. Black Benny didn't jump quite as well as expected at Killarney after scoring at Roscommon but Tom Horn is proving himself a useful chaser and followed a comfortable victory at Kilbeggan with a very good third in a tough handicap there where he would have finished closer but for being impeded. Gimli's Rock and Minella For Value are others to note in a race that should provide plenty of winners over the coming months.
Gimli's Rock (IRE) 3-1 (11-7) Pushed along early, soon tracked leaders, niggled along 7th, soon lost place, dropped to last and no impression from 4 out, headway again from after next, ran on under pressure without threatening run-in, 3rd of 9, 11l behind Aughnacurraveel (11-5) at Kilbeggan 3m hdl gf.
Jakros (IRE) 25-1 (10-1) Chased leader, 2nd halfway, ridden in 3rd 3 out, no extra before next, 6th of 17, 16l behind Another Rebel (10-5) at Killarney 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-140 gd in Aug.
Themoonandsixpence (IRE) 10-1 (11-3) Soon in rear, pulled up before 4th, in a race won by Faltering Fullback (9-12) at Listowel 3m hcp chs hvy in Sep '12, 18 ran.
Black Benny (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Held up early, some slight mistakes, mid-division in 6th halfway, ridden 3 out, no impression in 4th 2 out, kept on one pace, 4th of 10, 11l behind Spring Heeled (11-5) at Killarney 2m 4f nov chs gd in Aug.
Golden Wonder (IRE) 5-1 (11-12) Settled mid-division, moderate 6th halfway, headway into 4th 3 out, closer in 3rd 2 out, ridden in 2nd entering straight, kept on well to lead run-in, won at Galway 2m 6f beg chase hvy in Aug beating Spring Heeled (11-12) by 3 1/2l, 13 ran.
Minella For Value (IRE) 7-2fav (11-12) Always prominent, led before straight, asserted from 2 out, stayed on well run-in, reduced lead close home, won at Listowel 2m 4f beg chs beating Flying Light (11-12) by 1 1/4l, 16 ran.
Rockshandy (IRE) 14-1 (11-5) Made all, clear at stages, stayed on well under pressure to assert final furlong, won at Galway 2m 6f beg chs gd beating Minella For Value (11-12) by 6l, 9 ran.
Tom Horn (IRE) 11-4fav (11-0) Chased leaders, lost place briefly halfway, 3rd 4 out, ridden in 4th 2 out, 2nd last, challenged early straight, 2nd and bumped run-in, no extra in 3rd close home, 3rd of 14, 4l behind Double Seven (10-6) at Kilbeggan 3m 1f hcp chs gf in Jul.
Fantastic Gold 16-1 (10-4) Soon well off the pace towards rear, moderate 7th approaching 2 out, ridden into moderate 4th before straight, kept on without threatening final furlong, 4th of 8, 9l behind Muzak (10-0) at Galway 2m 1f hcp chs gd.
Gudnis Gracious Me (IRE) 16-1 (11-6) Towards rear, reminders 4th, 10th 3 out, no extra next, 12th of 15, 42l behind Bridgequarter Girl (10-12) at Galway 2m hcp hdl 8Evens23 gf.
Our Girl Lucy (IRE) 14-1 (11-6) Away from her rivals at the start, prominent, on terms from 4 out, headed 2 out, dropped to moderate 4th and no extra approaching straight, kept on same pace, 5th of 11, 23l behind The Book Thief (9-12) at Kilbeggan 3m 1f hcp chs 0-123 gd.
Michael Valentine (IRE) 33-1 (11-1) Mid-division, ridden in 11th 4 out, no extra and weakened, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Minella For Value (11-12) at Bellewstown 3m mdn hdl gd in Aug, 15 ran.
Kalico Kim (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) Soon mid-division, 8th early, no impression 2 out, kept on, 5th of 14, 14l behind Alexander Leaving (11-12) at Kilbeggan 2m 4f beg chs gd.
Monroe's Live (IRE) 33-1 (11-1) In rear, some modest progress 3 out, kept on without threatening, 6th of 12, 32l behind Heaney (11-12) at Ballinrobe 2m 6f beg chs gd in Aug.