ZAIDPOUR is bred to be a champion and it would be no surprise to see him tackling the very best after today. Willie Mullins' charge, a half-brother to Triumph Hurdle winner Zaynar out of a French Oaks winner, didn't have much to beat on his hurdling debut at Punchestown a month ago but did it so impressively that a step into Graded company was the obvious move. He faces very much stiffer opposition here and both Perfect Smile and Carloswayback were equally impressive when landing the odds in maidens at Punchestown and Limerick respectively. Pineau De Re is progressing at a rate of knots and beat a decent field at Limerick but it was over three miles on heavy ground that Mount Helicon landed a Grade 3 at Cork and it will be a surprise if he has the pace for this.
Carloswayback (IRE) 5-6fav (11-8) Held up in touch, raced keenly, smooth headway into 3rd after 3 out, led travelling easily 2 out, drew clear from before last, not extended, won at Limerick 2m cond mdn hdl sft in Nov beating Knockfierna (11-7) by 5l, 11 ran.
Mount Helicon 5-1 (11-7) Chased leading trio, mistake 5th, headway on outside before 3 out, challenged 2 out, took narrow lead between last 2, ridden and headed approaching and mistake last, no chance with winner and lost 2nd close home, 3rd of 8, 7l behind Champion Court (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Nov.
Perfect Smile (IRE) 1-3fav (11-12) Tracked leaders, improved to dispute lead 2 out, led travellig strongly entering straight, eased clear run-in, not extended, won at Punchestown 2m mdn hdl gd in Oct beating Crom Abu (11-12) by 6l, 10 ran.
Pineau De Re (FR) 9-2 (11-12) Chased leaders, 7th 3 out, closed before straight, on terms from before 2 out, soon ridden to lead and clear last, stayed on well, won at Limerick 2m mdn hdl sft in Nov beating Zagman (11-4) by 5l, 14 ran.
The Shepherd King (IRE) 11-4 (11-7) Tracked leaders, 3rd halfway, travelled well into 2nd entering straight, led last, ridden and kept on well run-in, won at Galway 2m mdn hdl gd in Oct beating Start Me Up (11-12) by 1 1/4l, 11 ran.
Zaidpour (FR) 8-11fav (11-7) Tracked leaders, 5th on inner halfway, smooth progress to challenge early straight, led last, cruised clear run-in, not extended, won at Punchestown 2m 4f 4yo mdn hdl in Nov beating Katys Girl (10-11) by 12l, 22 ran.