This looks yet another for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh via dual Champion Bumper winner CHAMPAGNE FEVER, who came up against a very high-class performer when runner-up to Jezki, who followed up in the Future Champions at Leopardstown, in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse. He's unlikely to bump into anything as smart this season and can gain compensation. Minsk, who finished an excellent fourth in the Royal Bond, looks held but Rule The World had no problems defeating Joncol at Navan though the latter, who continues his rehabilitiation, was having his first ever start over hurdles and should get much closer. Captain Arceus and Sizing Jo'burg will need to improve but the latter made a big impression at Downpatrick and is set to go on to better things.
Captain Arceus (IRE) 12-1 (11-9) In touch, 4th and ridden from after 4 out, no impression from 2 out, kept on same pace, 3rd of 5, 10l behind Too Scoops (11-9) at Punchestown 2m lst nov hdl (4yo+) (1) hvy in Dec.
Champagne Fever (IRE) 11-8fav (11-10) Attempted to make all, ridden along after 3 out, strongly pressed after next, joined before last, headed early run-in, kept on, 2nd of 6, 1 1/2l behind Jezki (11-7) at Fairyhouse 2m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) sft in Dec.
Joncol (IRE) 8-1 (11-5) Held up in 5th, pushed along 4 out, went 3rd 3 out, kept on steadily to go 2nd inside final furlong, not trouble winner, 2nd of 6, 4 1/2l behind Rule The World (11-12) at Navan 2m 4f nh nov hdl hvy in Dec.
Rule The World 4-5fav (11-12) Tracked leaders in 4th, improved into 2nd 3 out, led and ridden clear after next, stayed on well from last, won at Navan 2m 4f nh nov hdl hvy in Dec beating Joncol (11-5) by 4 1/2l, 6 ran.
Minsk (IRE) 11-4 (11-7) Tracked leader in 2nd, travelling well after 3 out, ridden before 2 out, soon no impression and dropped to 4th before last, 4th of 6, 7l behind Jezki (11-7) at Fairyhouse 2m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) sft in Dec.
Sizing Jo'burg (IRE) 9-4 (11-4) Tracked leaders in 3rd, headway into 2nd approaching 2 out and led last, driven out to assert run-in, stayed on well, won at Downpatrick 2m 2f 4yo mdn hdl sft in Nov beating Sarabad (11-4) by 10l, 9 ran.