BLACKSTAIRMOUNTAIN, who won the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown just over a year ago, probably prefers better ground than he'll face here but his run behind Staying Article here in November gives him the edge of Sailors Warn, who has to concede 7lb. Joxer is improving and gave supporters of the odds-on Midnight Game a fright at Thurles when Arnaud battled on into third while the chaser Fosters Cross wasn't far behind the useful Rebel Fitz when last seen over hurdles when Sailors Warn was behind.
Sailors Warn (IRE) 8-1 (11-10) In rear, niggled along from 4th, soon trailing, never a factor, 4th of 5, well behind Owega Star (11-5) at Navan 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) hvy in Dec.
Bombadero (IRE) 25-1 (10-6) Mid-division best, ridden and weakened before 2 out, 26th of 30, well behind Prince Rudi (10-6) at Leopardstown 3m hcp hdl sft in Dec.
Joxer (IRE) 7-4 (11-2) Tracked leaders in 3rd, went 2nd 2 out, ridden and tried to challenge approaching last, kept on same pace run-in without really troubling winner, 2nd of 4, 1l behind Midnight Game (11-12) at Thurles 2m Lstd hdl (1) hvy in Dec.
Arnaud (IRE) 16-1 (10-13) Led, headed approaching 3 out, ridden in 3rd after 2 out, no impression but kept on same pace run-in, 3rd of 4, 2l behind Midnight Game (11-12) at Thurles 2m Lstd hdl (1) hvy in Dec.
Blackstairmountain (IRE) 6-5fav (11-5) Soon raced in moderate 3rd, closed from before straight, niggled along in 2nd 3 out, challenged next and every chance, not match winner and kept on same pace closing stages, 2nd of 7, 1l behind Staying Article (11-12) at Cork 2m hdl sft in Nov.
Fosters Cross (IRE) 40-1 (11-1) Towards rear, unseated rider 6th, in a race won by Colbert Station (10-11) at Leopardstown 3m hcp chs 0-145 sft in Dec, 28 ran.
Brog Deas (IRE) 4-1 (10-9) Tracked leaders in 3rd, disputed lead after 4 out, ridden and headed before 2 out, weakened and dropped to 4th before final furlong, 4th of 5, 24l behind Our Conor (10-9) at Fairyhouse 2m 3yo hdl Grd 3 (1) sft in Dec.