A small but select field with both Sir Des Champs and HIDDEN CYCLONE likely to be challenging for top honours before long. The former is unbeaten over hurdles and fences though whether he would have beaten Knockfierna at Limerick last time is debatable. That was no disgrace whatever would have happened as the latter has since won a Grade 3 though the concession of 5lb to Hidden Cyclone may prove beyond Willie Mullins' charge. The winner of seven of his eight career starts and beaten less than a length in a Grade 1 over hurdles in the other, Shark Hanlon's charge made a promising start over fences in a race that has worked out well here and can continue his winning ways. Donnas Palm will have found 2m1f too short here last time and is the more likely to take advantage if the principals don't come up to scratch.
Sir Des Champs (FR) 4-7fav (11-6) Waited with behind leaders, 2nd and challenged into straight, every chance when left clear 2 out, stayed on well, won at Limerick 2m 3f nov chs Grade 2 (1) hvy in Dec beating Four Commanders (11-6) by 7l, 4 ran.
De' Oro (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) Soon tracked leaders, 4th and no impression under pressure 2 out, kept on same pace, 3rd of 16, 5l behind Caheronaun (11-3) at Fairyhouse 2m 4f hcp hdl 80-102 sft.
Donnas Palm (IRE) 9-4fav (11-3) Chased leaders, 7th halfway, ridden after 2 out, no impression before last, kept on one pace under pressure without threatening run-in, 6th of 11, 4l behind Arklow Ger (10-7) at Leopardstown 2m 1f hcp chs sft in Dec.
Fists Of Fury (IRE) 8-1 (11-6) Disputed lead, blundered 13th, lost place 5 out, 4th and outpaced when mistake next, soon beaten, tailed off, 4th of 5, 40l behind Join Together (11-9) at Cheltenham 3m 1f nov chs (2) gd in Dec.
Hidden Cyclone (IRE) 7-4 (11-12) Tracked leaders, left 2nd from 3rd, headway to lead before 2 out, slight mistake last, ridden and kept on best to assert run-in, won at Leopardstown 2m 3f beg chs gd in Dec beating Nearest The Pin (11-12) by 2l, 7 ran.