Willie Mullins won this a year ago with Sir Des Champs and can follow suit with MIKAEL D'HAGUENET. Nine times a winner over timber including three at Grade 1 level, he's been very frustrating over fences but had a nice confidence-booster at Punchestown and hopefully has finally got his act together. Far Away So Close, another decent hurdler though not in the same class as the selection, is progressing over fences and followed a victory over the C&D with a good run in a very competitive Fairyhouse handicap where he was attempting to concede the winner 9lb. The four-year-old Argocat was only just touched off by the promising Twinlight in a Grade 3 novice chase at Galway and neither Tillahow nor Snooze are out of this though both would need to improve.
Far Away So Close (IRE) 4-1fav (11-0) Led and disputed, led 3 out, mistake and headed 2 out, ridden and no extra from before last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 14, 2 1/4l behind Lead Kindly Light (10-5) at Fairyhouse 2m 1f hcp chs sft.
Mikael D'haguenet (FR) 8-13fav (11-12) Made all, jumped well until slight mistake 2 out, soon ridden to assert, eased clear from last, not fully extended, won at Punchestown 2m 4f beg chs hvy beating Lord Windermere (11-12) by 2 3/4l, 6 ran.
Snooze (FR) 4-1 (10-12) Tracked leader in 2nd, led after 6 out, strongly pressed approaching last where headed, no impression on winner run-in, 2nd of 6, 6l behind Forpadydeplasterer (11-10) at Thurles 3m chs hvy in Nov.
Tillahow (IRE) 14-1 (11-0) Tracked leaders, 4th halfway, ridden early straight and no impression from 2 out, kept on one pace, 4th of 6, 12l behind Hidden Cyclone (11-10) at Gowran Park 2m 4f chs hvy in Nov.
Argocat (IRE) 5-2 (10-3) Chased leaders in 3rd, headway in 2nd 2 out, led last, ridden and headed entering straight, kept on, not match winner, 2nd of 5, 2l behind Twinlight (11-0) at Galway 2m 1f nov chs (1) in Oct.