Last year's Cheltenham National Hunt Chase winner Chicago Grey hasn't raced over hurdles for almost two years and along with Whatuthink is unlikely to have the pace for this while Benash doesn't look to have the quality to trouble either Zaidpour, who beat him 10l at Navan last month, nor VOLER LA VEDETTE. The former is starting to look like a high-class staying hurdler and the small field will play to his strengths though the concession of 7lb to Colm Murphy's brilliant mare, who gained her first Grade 1 victory at Fairyhouse last month before following up in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, looks beyond him.
Zaidpour (FR) 1-3fav (11-12) Tracked leader in 2nd, travelling well entering straight, led and went clear after 2 out, stayed on well from last, easily, won at Navan 2m 4f hdl G2 (1) hvy in Dec beating Benash (11-5) by 10l, 4 ran.
Benash (IRE) 9-1 (10-11) Chased leaders in 3rd, ridden and no extra when mistake 3 out, weakened before next, 3rd of 4, well behind Mikael D'Haguenet (11-12) at Punchestown 2m 4f hdl hvy in Dec.
Chicago Grey (IRE) 4-1 (11-11) Held up in rear, never in contention, 7th of 11, well behind Galaxy Rock (10-10) at Cheltenham 3m 3f Grade 3 hcp chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Nov.
Voler La Vedette (IRE) 13-8 (11-3) Held up towards rear, headway into 3rd before 3 out, travelled best to challenge entering straight, soon led and shaken up to assert before last, kept on well run-in, comfortably, won at Leopardstown 3m hdl G2 (1) gd in Dec beating Mourad (11-8) by 5l, 6 ran.
Whatuthink (IRE) 33-1 (10-9) Chased leaders, 5th halfway, lost place after halfway, 17th of 26, 45l behind Cross Appeal (10-4) at Leopardstown 3m hcp chs 0-145 in Dec.