BIG SHU, runner-up in this a year ago, is probably the best cross-country horse around at present though this trip is definitely on the short side. His victories in the championship races here and at Cheltenham last spring obviously set the standard though those events will be his target again. Love Rory has a victory over these unique obstacles to his credit though he was receiving 7lb from Sizing Australia and only beat him a head. Long Strand was a long way behind in third and hardly looks capable of reversing the form. Bishopsfurze has been a smart hurdler and chaser in his day but has lost his form and been relegated to the cross-country. He would have to be the main threat if taking to the course. Quiscover Fontaine has won seven races in his career and is warming up for another crack at the Grand National.
Big Shu (IRE) 9-2fav (12-3) In rear, headway from 20th, mistake 22nd (Ruby's Double), led 6 out, clear from 4 out, reduced advantage and ridden entering straight, bad mistake at last, kept on under pressure run-in, all out to hold on, won at Punchestown 4m 1f crs cntry chs (5yo+) hvy in Apr beating Another Jewel (11-7) by 1 1/4l, 17 ran.
Bishopsfurze (IRE) 20-1 (11-3) Chased leaders, 4th halfway, no impression from after 3 out, kept on one pace straight, 4th of 8, 28l behind Mala Beach (11-8) at Gowran Park 3m hdl G2 (1) in Jan.
Love Rory (IRE) 7-2fav (11-6) Mid-division, progress into 2nd 5 out, challenged 2 out and soon ridden, under pressure before last and no impression closing stages,, 3rd of 14, 1 1/4l behind Thelobstercatcher (11-2) at Fairyhouse 3m 1f hcp chs 0-123 in Jan.
A Stray Shot (IRE) 8-1 (11-7) Mid-division, progress into 5th 3 out, ridden into 3rd 2 out, left 2nd, no impression winner last, no extra run-in, dropped to 4th close home, 4th of 16, 7l behind Burren River (12-0) at Limerick 2m 6f hts chs hvy in Dec.
Benefit Night (IRE) 7-1 (11-8) Brought down 1st, in a race won by Baily Storm (11-5) at Worcester 2m 7f hcp chs 0-110 (4) gd in Jul, 8 ran.
Chestnut Charlie (IRE) 13-2 (10-13) Tracked leaders, 4t 3 out, soon ridden, kept on same pace, 4th of 19, 7l behind Rockyaboya (11-7) at Navan 2m 4f hcp hdl 80-116 sft in Mar.
Classic Cut 4-1 (10-8) Tracked leaders, led 9th, headed 3 out, soon weakened, 4th of 8, 25l behind Or d'Oudairies (10-7) at Hexham 2m 4f cnd hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd in May.
Dosco's Dream (IRE) 25-1 (10-8) Chased leaders, 5th halfway, ridden and no extra 3 out, 7th of 17, 50l behind De Chissler (11-1) at Limerick 2m hcp hdl 80-95 hvy in Dec.
Duers (IRE) 11-1 (11-4) Led, narrowly headed 3 out, dropped to moderate 4th approaching 2 out, soon no extra,, 5th of 12, 19l behind Playing (10-8) at Limerick 2m 6f hvy in Dec.
Jacks Island (IRE) 33-1 (11-7) Towards rear, never a factor, 14th approaching 3 out, kept on one pace in straight, 11th of 18, 21l behind Getoutwhenyoucan (11-3) at Thurles 2m hcp hdl 80-102 in Jan.
Long Strand (IRE) 5-1 (10-13) Rcd v kn, chsd ldrs, wo 6th, 3l clr 1/2way, jnd 6out, hdd appr straight, not qckn in 3l 3rd 2out, all out run-in, lost 3rd at line, 4th of 7, 6l behind Burren River (10-13) at Nenagh 3m ire ptp hvy in Jan.
Lord Hawkfield (IRE) 6-1 (12-0) Ld/disp, 3rd at 13th, 2l down at 17th, rdn in 4l 3rd 3out, not qckn with ldrs appr 2out but kow to line, 3rd of 14, 6l behind Twin Joy (12-0) at Tattersalls Farm 3m ire ptp fm in May.
Nedzer's Return (IRE) 6-1 (11-11) Ld/disp, ld 6out, hdd bef 3out & cl en 4th when lft 3rd 2out, no dngr, 3rd of 19, 12l behind Lisrose (11-11) at Dromahane 3m ire ptp in Dec.
Quiscover Fontaine (FR) 12-1 (10-10) Held up in rear, lost touch 27th, tailed off, 9th of 11, well behind Balthazar King (11-8) at Cheltenham 3m 7f crs cntry chs (5yo+) (2) gd in Nov.
Stonesinmypocket (IRE) 3-1 (12-2) Chsd ldrs, 3rd aftr a mile, disp brfly 8th, 4th frm 5out & btn bef 4out, wknd badly 3out , to & pu bef 2out, in a race won by Forde In America (12-2) at Templenacarriga 3m ire ptp hvy in Jan, 11 ran.
Chestnut Friar (IRE) 7-1 (11-11) Made all, went on 3out, rallied & ko best, won at Lisronagh 3m ire ptp gd in Dec beating Kerrib Castle (11-6) by 4l, 13 ran.