Lush Life also had the Greatwood as an option and must be respected as he bids to follow in the footsteps of Punchestowns who took this for the yard two years ago but he could struggle to concede weight all round. In an open race, there are two horses that really take the eye and if conditions were to come up soft then Grands Crus would be the one to side with as he looks extremely well handicapped on a line through Sanctuaire to whom he finished second at Taunton. As things stand though, preference is FOR NON STOP who hacked up on his first start for Nick Williams and looks a horse of real potential so may well prove up to coping with a 13lb rise in the weights. This is, of course, hugely competitive with any number of live candidates but it's well worth considering Politeo, Rock County and Baracas as Irish trainers have picked up this prize a couple of times in the last ten years and the latter looks particularly interesting as he steps up in trip.
Lush Life (IRE) 8-15fav (11-6) In touch, ridden to press leader 2 out, not fluent last, driven and stayed on to lead final strides, won at Sandown 2m nov hdl (3) gd in Mar beating Cois Farraig (11-1) by hd, 11 ran.
Westlin' Winds (IRE) 4-1 (11-5) Led, headed after 4 out, ridden next, one pace approaching 2 out, weakened last, 7th of 16, 23l behind Nearby (11-4) at Aintree 2m hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gs in Oct.
Riptide 11-1 (11-5) Pressed leader, led 7th, driven after 3 out, stayed on well, won at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Oct beating Barwell Bridge (11-12) by 2l, 11 ran.
King's Legacy (IRE) 4-6fav (11-6) Tracked leading pair, led and clear with one rival after 3rd, reduced lead 6th, 2 lengths ahead and looked likely winner when jinked badly left, ran out and unseated rider last, in a race won by Organisateur (11-1) at Taunton 2m 3f nh nov hdl (4) gs in Apr, 12 ran.
Hidden Keel 9-2 (11-6) Made virtually all, mistake 3 out, soon went clear, mistake last, easily, won at Stratford 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gd in Oct beating Cubism (9-13) by 7l, 9 ran.
Baracas (FR) 3-1 (11-6) Tracked leaders, ridden in 3rd 3 out, kept on same pace from next, 3rd of 8, 4l behind Far Away So Close (11-6) at Punchestown 2m nh nov hdl gd in Oct.
Sophies Trophy (IRE) 14-1 (11-2) Keen, chased leaders, under pressure after 3 out, weakened and pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Mous Of Men (10-6) at Sandown 2m 3f hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gd in Apr, 16 ran.
Russian War (IRE) 8-1 (10-11) Held up towards rear, smooth headway on inside before 2 out, chased leaders before last, led after last, idled flat, held on close home, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-140 (2) gd in Oct beating Is It Me (9-12) by hd, 17 ran.
Grands Crus (FR) 15-8 (11-9) Held up in rear, headway approaching 6th, chased leaders from after 3 out, chased winner soon after 2 out, no imression before last, 2nd of 13, 4l behind Sanctuaire (10-7) at Taunton 2m 1f nov hdl (4) sft in Feb.
For Non Stop (IRE) 9-2 (10-8) Close up chased leader 5th, hit next, led 4 out, clear next, stayed on well, eased towards finish, easily, won at Chepstow 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) gs in Oct beating Pavillon Bleu (11-0) by 6l, 11 ran.
Mister Hyde (IRE) 11-8fav (11-1) Held up towards rear, not fluent 4th, headway approaching 7th, went 2nd after 3 out, led 2 out, shaken up flat, comfortably, won at Towcester 2m 5f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) gs beating Earcomesthedream (10-1) by 1 1/2l, 15 ran.
Hoback Junction (IRE) 7-2 (11-12) Took keen hold, tracked leaders, went 2nd 7th until approaching 2 out, hung right after last, no extra, 3rd of 11, 8l behind Mossley (10-12) at Huntingdon 2m 4f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Oct.
Politeo (FR) 7-2 (10-7) Held up in 7th, progress into 5th 4 out, 4th next, 3rd and ridden after 2 out, stayed on well from last, 2nd of 9, 1 1/2l behind Grangeclare Gold (11-0) at Naas 2m 3f hcp hdl gf in Oct.
Rock County (IRE) 8-1 (10-12) Chased leaders, 2nd halfway, improved to lead after 3 out, strongly pressed, ridden to assert after 2 out, mistake last, kept on well run-in, won at Galway 2m hcp hdl gd in Oct beating Asigh Pearl (11-2) by 3l, 12 ran.
Accordingtoemandem (IRE) 14-1 (10-13) Held up towards rear, headway 3 out, chased winner 2 out, hung badly left flat, lost 2nd last strides, 3rd of 11, 2 1/4l behind Riptide (11-5) at Haydock 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-135 (3) gd in Oct.
Heez A Cracker (FR) 2-1fav (10-12) Held up in touch, chased leaders 3 out, led on bit approaching last, driven clear, impressive, won at Kempton 2m 5f nh nov hdl (4) gd in Oct beating Jay J (10-9) by 1 1/2l, 7 ran.
Cappagh (IRE) 15-8fav (11-4) Held up in rear, not fluent 5th, headway 9th, blundered 13th, challenged 2 out, soon led, driven out, won at Ffos Las 2m 5f nov chs 0-115 (4) gd in Oct beating Sonny Mullen (11-1) by 3 1/2l, 7 ran.
Rigadin de Beauchene (FR) 9-2 (11-11) Prominent until hit 4th, lost place 3 out, rallied after 2 out, went second flat, never any chance with winner, 2nd of 6, 13l behind Double Dash (11-9) at Lingfield 2m hcp hdl 0-110 (4) hvy in Jan.