Lastoftheleaders was an easy winner of this last year and arrives in top form having scored over hurdles at Galway in October but he's 13lb higher and FAR AWAY SO CLOSE may have his measure. Paul Nolan's charge was having only his fifth start over fences when scoring at Limerick last month and a mark of 130 looks reasonable. There's little between him and Monastrell on their run at Naas last October though the selection appears to have made the better progress. Protaras looked a nice prospect when landing a beginners event at Gowran but disappointed when stepped up in class at Punchestown so it's Slieveardagh, who unlike many of these will be suited by the trip, who could provide the main threat as he's now dropped to a reasonable mark.
Lastoftheleaders (IRE) 7-2 (11-3) Chased leader, led before 2nd, clear after 2 out, ridden entering straight, reduced advantage run-in, kept on, won at Galway 2m hcp hdl in Oct beating Delphi Mountain (10-10) by 2 1/4l, 9 ran.
Slieveardagh (IRE) 5-1 (11-10) Held up towards rear, poor 5th and no impression 2 out, kept on one pace into 4th entering straight, 4th of 9, 47l behind Paddy O Dee (9-5) at Galway 2m 1f hcp chs sft in Aug.
Armaramak (IRE) 15-2 (10-6) Mid-division, weakened from 4 out, 11th of 12, 50l behind Acriveen (9-10) at Naas 2m 3f hcp hdl hvy in Oct.
Imperial Shabra (IRE) 12-1 (11-2) Led narrwoly to before 5th, chased leader to 8th, soon no chance with front pair in clear 3rd, mistake last, 3rd of 6, 26l behind Wishfull Thinking (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m chs (2) sft in Nov.
Far Away So Close (IRE) 5-4fav (11-2) Led, slow jump and headed 8th, challenged again approaching straight and led 2 out, kept on well from before last, won at Limerick 2m 3f beg chs hvy in Nov beating Spot Fine (11-7) by 4l, 11 ran.
Jack Absolute (IRE) 20-1 (11-3) Soon disputed lead, 2nd at 3rd, soon well off pace in chasing group, no impression 3 out, 7th of 11, 16l behind For A Finish (11-5) at Fairyhouse 2m 4f hcp hdl 80-109 sft in Nov.
Monastrell 20-1 (11-3) Chased leader in 2nd, challenged 3 out, ridden to lead after 2 out, challenged last, headed run-in and no extra close home, 2nd of 11, 3/4l behind Pires (11-7) at Down Royal 2m hcp chs gd in Nov.
Peak Raider (IRE) 12-1 (10-6) Held up, never a factor, trailing from 4 out, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Un Hinged (10-1) at Punchestown 2m hcp chs sft in May, 10 ran.
Protaras (USA) 7-2 (11-0) Chased leaders in moderate 4th, 3rd 4 out, no threat and dropped to 4th 2 out, 4th of 6, 27l behind Baily Green (11-8) at Punchestown 2m 2f nov chs (1) hvy in Oct.
Sumkindasuprstar (IRE) 8-1 (10-13) Led, headed approaching 6th, on terms again 8th, in front before straight, ridden clear before last, soon reduced lead and stayed on well run-in, won at Roscommon 2m 5f hcp chs 0-123 gd in May beating Kilflora (11-10) by 2 1/4l, 15 ran.
Heavenly Brook (IRE) 7-1 (11-6) Always prominent, 3rd into straight, kept on same pace under pressure from before last, 4th of 10, 8l behind Highdownhill (10-5) at Punchestown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 hvy in Nov.
Lead Kindly Light (IRE) 8-1 (11-3) Towards rear, progress from 4 out, ridden in 5th 2 out, went 2nd at last, kept on well, 2nd of 19, 4l behind Misca Musca (10-11) at Navan 2m hcp hdl 80-109 hvy in Nov.
On The Way Out (IRE) 9-2 (11-6) Held up towards rear, no impression under pressure and kept on same pace from before straight, 7th of 10, 18l behind Highdownhill (10-5) at Punchestown 2m 4f hcp chs 0-130 hvy in Nov.
Senior Again (IRE) 2-1fav (10-13) Held up in rear, headway early straight and went 3rd 2 out, no impression on first 2 before last, no extra, 3rd of 8, 12l behind Dont Tell Pa (11-5) at Limerick 2m hcp hdl 80-102 hvy in Nov.