MARITO and Mount Benbulben fought out a tremendous finish in a novice chase at Naas three weeks ago with the former just prevailing by a head. A better round of jumping was the key as the latter made a couple of minor errors at crucial stages and there's unlikely to be much in it again. The form can be confirmed over this longer trip though this is by no means a two-runner affair as Lord Windermere is looking a very smart recruit to chasing and beat what looked a very strong line-up in a beginners' event over slightly shorter here last month. Texas Jack has by no means been disgraced in two Grade 1's after making a winning debut over fences at Naas and looks best of the remainder.
Cootamundra (IRE) 25-1 (11-10) Settled towards rear, 7th 4 out, headway into 5th 2 out, no extra approaching last, weakened, 5th of 12, 33l behind Back In Focus (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
Lord Windermere (IRE) 9-4fav (11-12) Chased leaders, 5th halfway, pushed along in 4th 2 out, challenged and not clear run entering straight, led before last, kept on well, won at Leopardstown 2m 3f beg chs sft in Dec beating Marasonnien (11-12) by 2l, 12 ran.
Marito (GER) 4-6fav (11-8) Tracked leader in 2nd, led 6th, slight mistake next, ridden and strongly pressed after 2 out, stayed on well run-in, all out near line, won at Naas 2m nov chs beating Mount Benbulben (11-8) by hd, 7 ran.
Mount Benbulben (IRE) 9-2 (11-8) Tracked leaders in 4th early, 3rd from 4th, went 2nd 4 out, ridden after 2 out, stayed on well run-in, strongly pressed winner to line, 2nd of 7, hd behind Marito (11-8) at Naas 2m nov chs.
Texas Jack (IRE) 33-1 (11-10) Settled in rear of mid-division on inner, headway after halfway and 2nd 4 out, disputed briefly after 2 out, ridden in 3rd approaching last and no extra run-in, 3rd of 12, 18l behind Back In Focus (11-10) at Leopardstown 3m nov chs Grade 1 (4yo+) (1) sft in Dec.
One Cool Shabra (IRE) 16-1 (10-7) Raced in 5th, went 3rd approaching straight, ridden after 2 out and no extra run-in, 3rd of 5, 11l behind Tofino Bay (11-5) at Naas 3m nov chs G2 (1) hvy.