This could hardly have produced a more interesting line-up. Although the useful hurdler Darwins Fox has already proved himself over fences with his second to Turban at Cork being a fine effort, the chasing debut of REBEL FITZ has been long awaited. Mick Winters' charge, last year's Galway Hurdle winner, has always looked a chaser in the making and this should provide him with a stiff enough test before hopefully going on to better things. Steps To Freedom is another very intriguing chasing debutant though he's been confined to racing on the Flat over the past year. The winner of a Cheltenham Grade 2 over hurdles, he's a very talented individual and though his pedigree wouldn't suggest he'd make a chaser he jumped very well over timber. Arnaud was behind Darwins Fox at Cork but that was his debut over fences and the youngster has much more to offer.
A Decent Excuse (IRE) 33-1 (10-4) In rear, no impression from 3 out, pulled up entering straight, in a race won by Acapulco (11-4) at Punchestown 3m Handicap Hurdle (95-130) (4yo+) hvy in Apr, 22 ran.
Birzali (FR) 11-4 (11-2) Tracked leaders in 3rd, weakening when fell last, in a race won by Welsh Bard (10-8) at Sedgefield 2m 5f 4yo mdn stks (5) gd, 8 ran.
Darwins Fox (FR) 5-2 (11-12) Tracked leaders, on terms 3 out, not fluent next, soon headed and no impression last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 18, 5l behind Turban (11-12) at Cork 2m beg chase hvy in Apr.
Drumloose (IRE) 25-1 (11-12) Mid-division, fell 3rd, in a race won by Burn And Turn (11-5) at Limerick 2m 1f beg chs gd, 15 ran.
Handsome Dan (IRE) 6-1 (10-9) Tracked leaders, improved to lead entering straight, soon ridden, stayed on well from last, won at Clonmel 3m Handicap Hurdle (80-109) (5yo+) gf in Sep beating Misty Weather (10-13) by 2 1/2l, 17 ran.
Hard Bought (IRE) 50-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, plenty to do when brought down 4 out, in a race won by Turban (11-12) at Cork 2m beg chase hvy in Apr, 18 ran.
Not For Changing (IRE) 8-1 (9-11) In rear, pushed along 4 out, remote 9th and ridden 2 out, moderate 6th at last, stayed on strongly run-in to strongly pressed winner at line, just failed, 2nd of 12, nk behind Sammy Black (10-13) at Fairyhouse 2m nov hcp hdl 8Evens23 sft in Mar.
Rebel Fitz (FR) 16-1 (11-12) Settled in 4th, pushed along after 3 out and no impression on easy winner in 5th approaching last, no extra run-in, 5th of 6, 17l behind Hurricane Fly (11-12) at Punchestown 2m hdl G1 (1) hvy in Apr.
Steps To Freedom (IRE) 9-4fav (11-10) Held up, 6th halfway, headway into 2nd entering straight, ridden in 3rd 2 out, no extra before last, 5th of 8, 9l behind Alderwood (11-7) at Fairyhouse 2m nov hdl G2 (1) gs in Apr '12.
Ted Dolly (IRE) 12-1 (11-3) Soon mid-division, niggled along 5 out, soon improved, 5th from next, no extra from after 3 out, 8th of 15, well behind Silver Friend (11-9) at Cork 2m hcp hdl 8Evens23 hvy in Apr.
Theshowisover (IRE) 18-1 (10-6) Chased leaders, no extra approaching straight, tailed off, 11th of 15, well behind Silver Friend (11-9) at Cork 2m hcp hdl 8Evens23 hvy in Apr.
Where's The Dosh (IRE) 33-1 (10-13) Always towards rear, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Shariyan (11-1) at Leopardstown 2m 4f hcp hdl 8Evens23 in Jan, 26 ran.
Arnaud (IRE) 5-1 (11-5) Prominent, led 5 out, joined 3 out, not fluent next, soon headed and no impression, kept on same pace, 3rd of 18, 17l behind Turban (11-12) at Cork 2m beg chase hvy in Apr.