Paul Nicholls has won this for the past three years and won't be sending French import Kauto Stone here for the fun of it. A half-brother to Kauto Star, he's won a Grade 1 in France on heavy ground for which he's penalised and looks certain to give a good account. Roi Du Mee went off the boil at the end of the last campaign but returned with an easy victory in a three-horse affair at Punchestown and he should build on that. Saludos was one of last season's top novices and was probably unlucky not to land a Grade 1 at Leopardstown in December when falling at the last though this is a new trip for him. BLAZING TEMPO won the Galway Plate with a feather weight before being beaten in the Kerry National on his first start over 3m. This looks his best trip and his allowances should just swing things his way.
Kauto Stone (FR) (10-7) 3rd of 10, 4 1/2l behind Line Salsa (10-1) at Auteuil(FR) 2m 2f 5yo hdl gd in Apr.
Roi Du Mee (FR) 11-4 (11-8) Made all, slight mistake 2 out, pushed out to assert before last, easily, won at Punchestown 2m 7f chs Grade 3 (1) in Oct beating Forpadydeplasterer (11-0) by 16l, 3 ran.
Saludos (IRE) 8-1 (11-12) Led, wandered briefly before 1st, some slight mistakes, headed 4 out, dropped to 3rd before straight, no impression and kept on same pace from after 2 out, 3rd of 5, 18l behind Captain Chris (11-12) at Punchestown 2m nov chs G1 (1) gs in May.
Blazing Tempo (IRE) 6-1 (11-6) Rear of mid-division, closer from 5 out, went 3rd 3 out, no impression on winner from 2 out, kept on one pace, 4th of 17, 6l behind Alfa Beat (11-3) at Listowel 3m hcp chs sft in Sep.
Imperial Shabra (IRE) 7-1 (11-3) Led, mistake 4 out, headed next, soon no extra, 7th of 16, 25l behind Munsaab (10-11) at Wexford 2m 2f cond hcp hdl (80-109) sft in Oct.