2010 Champion Hurdle winner Binocular finished well behind Hurricane Fly at Punchestown when last seen at the track in May. He'd earlier beaten OVERTURN in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, but the latter arrives full of beans and is fancied to reverse the form today. Having landed the Chester Cup on the Flat in May, Donald McCain's hurdler has looked better than ever in registering a couple of wins back over timber and could take some catching in this Grade 1 contest. The departure of the favourite left Celestial Halo to come home alone in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton three weeks ago, but it was a good performance nevertheless. He should enjoy further success in less exalted company this season but Kosta Brava and Stormy Weather have no chance on today's terms.
Binocular (FR) 5-1 (11-12) Slow to jump off, led and clear, jumped left 2nd, reduced advantage 4th, jumped left 5th, slightly left and headed 4 out, ridden to dispute entering straight, no extra in 3rd before last, kept on same pace, 3rd of 6, 9l behind Hurricane Fly (11-12) at Punchestown 2m hdl G1 (1) gd in May.
Celestial Halo (IRE) 85-40 (11-10) Made all, ridden and 1 length advantage when left well clear 2 out, unchallenged after, won at Wincanton 2m Ltd hcp hdl (1) gs beating Aine's Delight (10-4) by 16l, 5 ran.
Kosta Brava (FR) 28-1 (10-13) Led to before 3rd, in touch, led again 5th, driven and headed 3 out, kept on same pace, weakened before last, 7th of 18, 17l behind Ubi Ace (11-5) at Wetherby 2m hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft.
Overturn (IRE) 5-2 (11-0) Made all, set good pace, pushed along before 2 out, driven between last 2, driven and keeping on gamely when joined strongly pressed and left well clear last, won at Ascot 2m 3f hdl G2 (1) gd beating For Non Stop (11-0) by 27l, 7 ran.
Stormy Weather (FR) 12-1 (11-12) Held up in rear, jumped slowly 2nd, weakened after 3 out, 6th of 8, 41l behind Western Bound (11-2) at Perth 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in May.