HURRICANE FLY has won this for the past two years and a hat-trick beckons. Willie Mullins' stable star has looked back to his imperious best in his two starts this season and his ante-post price of 7/2 to regain his Champion Hurdle crown is likely to shrink after this. Another former champion, Binocular, wouldn't be competing here unless Nicky Henderson thought he could come away with the prize and he wasn't far behind the selection in the big one at Cheltenham last year. He hasn't been seen on a racecourse since and has been beaten in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle for the last two seasons on his reappearance. Thousand Stars generally plays second fiddle to his illustrious stablemate and is better over further while Captain Cee Bee was a long way behind the selection last time and One Cool Shabra is out of his depth.
Binocular (FR) 4-1 (11-10) Held up in last pair, headway after 3 out, ridden and 4 lengths off winner when blundered last, never going pace to challenge, no impression flat, 4th of 10, 7l behind Rock On Ruby (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) gd in Mar.
Captain Cee Bee (IRE) 16-1 (11-10) Settled behind leaders, 4th halfway, 3rd after 3 out, ridden in 2nd before last, no impression winner, 3rd and slight mistake last, kept on same pace, lost 3rd close home, 4th of 5, 8l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec.
Hurricane Fly (IRE) 1-5fav (11-10) Tracked leader in 2nd, led entering straight, quickened clear before last, easily, won at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) sft in Dec beating Unaccompanied (11-3) by 7l, 5 ran.
Thousand Stars (FR) 10-1 (11-10) Led, ridden and headed entering straight, soon dropped to 4th, kept on again run-in to 3rd close home, 3rd of 5, 8l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (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.