The three Willie Mullins entries are in different ownerships so the fact that Ruby Walsh has chosen FELIX YONGER suggests he should be the pick. Runner-up to Simonsig in the Grade 1 Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, he's made a superb start to his chasing career twice beating quality rivals at Punchestown, the latter in a Grade 2 for which he is penalised though he finished 21 lengths in front of stablemate Passage Vendome. The Paparrazi Kid ended last season's campaign with a victory in a very tough handicap over timber at Punchestown and was impressive when beating Castle Wings on his chasing bow at Limerick. However, it's Trifolium who looks the main threat to the selection as Charles Byrnes' classy hurdler, placed in championship races at Cheltenham and Punchestown last year, defied a long absence to make a spectacular start over fences at Thurles last month and is expected to take high rank among the novices this season.
Felix Yonger (IRE) 9-4 (11-4) Tracked leaders and 3rd halfway, went 2nd 4 out and headway to lead 2 out, ridden to assert run-in and kept on well, won at Punchestown 2m nov chs Grade 2 (1) in Nov beating Defy Logic (11-4) by 2 1/2l, 8 ran.
Passage Vendome (FR) 20-1 (11-4) Settled towards rear, some headway into 3rd 3 out, pushed along and soon no impression on first 2, kept on one pace, 3rd of 8, 21l behind Felix Yonger (11-4) at Punchestown 2m nov chs Grade 2 (1) in Nov.
The Paparrazi Kid (IRE) 9-10fav (11-12) Settled behind leaders early, closer in 5th halfway, headway into 3rd before straight, challenged 2 out, narrow led before last, ridden and asserted run-in, kept on well, won at Limerick 2m 3f beg chs sft in Nov beating Castle Wings (11-12) by 3l, 16 ran.
Trifolium (FR) 2-1fav (11-12) Disputed early and led before 3rd, jumped well, asserted approaching straight and stayed on well from 2 out, comfortably,, won at Thurles 2m 2f beg chs in Nov beating Cairdin (11-12) by 10l, 16 ran.