A very strong maiden for the money. Mags Mullins is represented by two recent winners, the Cheltenham bumper winner Anonis and King Of Firth, who scored in a Galway bumper. Both should make useful hurdlers, especially the former who was very impressive in what looked a strong race. EXPANDING UNIVERSE beat the promising Curley Bill comfortably in a bumper at Fairyhouse and is handed the vote despite the presence of Operating and The Paparrazi Kid. The former finished runner-up to Conbanan Lad on his hurdling bow in October and though beaten by Rory O'Moore when odds-on at Naas that didn't look his true form. The Paparrazi Kid hasn't quite managed to live up to his high reputation but there's still plenty of time and the likely strong gallop here may see him in a better light.
Anonis (GER) 25-1 (11-0) Tracked leader, led over 2f out, ridden and pressed over 1f out, stayed on strongly to go clear final 110 yards, won at Cheltenham 2m NH flat Listed (1) sft in Nov beating The Liquidator (11-0) by 5l, 11 ran.
Blissful Moment (USA) 8-1 (11-12) Tracked leaders, 6th when briefly pushed along 4 out, progress next, close 3rd 2 out, soon ridden and outpaced, no extra straight, 6th of 14, 34l behind Pride Ofthe Parish (11-12) at Punchestown 2m 4f mdn hdl hvy.
Expanding Universe (IRE) 7-4fav (12-0) Tracked leaders, 2nd halfway, dropped to 4th 3f out, ridden 2f out, 3rd 1 1/2f out, improved to lead 1f out, stayed on well final furlong, won at Fairyhouse 2m N H flat sft in Oct beating Curley Bill (11-10) by 3 1/2l, 8 ran.
Hot Prospect 14-1 (11-12) Mid-division, moderate 6th halfway, no extra from 3 out, weakened, 10th of 14, well behind Rory O'Moore (11-12) at Naas 2m mdn hdl in Nov.
Jarob 25-1 (11-12) Chased leaders, weakened from before straight, tailed off, 12th of 16, well behind Blossom Gate (10-12) at Cork 2m 4f mdn hdl in Nov.
King Of Firth (IRE) 7-4fav (12-0) Chased leaders, improved to lead and disputed halfway, ridden in lead 2f out, strongly pressed entering straight, kept on under pressure, all out, won at Galway 2m N H flat in Oct beating Lots Of Memories (11-11) by 1/2l, 9 ran.
Operating (IRE) 8-11fav (11-12) Tracked leaders in 5th, went moderate 2nd to chase clear leader before halfway, no impression when mistake 2 out, kept on one pace, 2nd of 14, 31l behind Rory O'Moore (11-12) at Naas 2m mdn hdl in Nov.
Rafi De Triana (FR) 14-1 (11-6) Mid-division, 9th halfway, no extra before straight, 13th of 18, well behind Ballyburke (11-10) at Navan 2m N H flat sft in Feb '10.
The Paparrazi Kid (IRE) 7-4 (11-12) Tracked leaders, mostly 2nd, 3rd 3 out, ridden from next, 2nd again before last, kept on without threatening winner, 2nd of 16, 2 3/4l behind Moscow Mannon (11-12) at Navan 2m mdn hdl hvy.
Slaney Conflict (IRE) 25-1 (10-10) Mid-division, 9th halfway, headway on outer into 4th entering straight, soon ridden and no extra after 2 out, 6th of 15, 17l behind Glens Melody (11-3) at Clonmel 2m 4f mdn hdl.