Enda Bolger has won this four times in the past five years including twice with Garde Champetre and once with Heads Onthe Ground. Those veterans of these banks fences have proved themselves very difficult to beat but SCOTSIRISH should have their measure this time. Willie Mullins' charge, who beat Tally Em Up and Jacks Island on his debut in this sphere in the Risk Of Thunder here in November, would have gone very close to winning the Glenfarclas at Cheltenham the following month but for taking the wrong course in that farcical event. Garde Champetre went on to win that contest but was very fortunate and old age appears to be catching up with him at last.
Garde Champetre (FR) 6-1 (11-12) Mid-division, mistake 26th, outpaced 3 out, 8th and no impression when left in lead before last, ridden and stayed on flat, lucky, won at Cheltenham 3m 7f hcp chs (2) gf in Dec beating Chamirey (10-4) by 3l, 10 ran.
Scotsirish (IRE) 12-1 (11-12) Held up in last, ridden and no impression entering straight, kept on one pace, 4th of 5, 7l behind Big Zeb (11-12) at Leopardstown 2m 1f chs G1 (1) in Dec.
Jacks Island (IRE) 10-1 (9-13) Led, ridden 4 out, headed before next, no extra from before straight, 6th of 10, 26l behind Concrete And Clay (10-6) at Gowran Park 2m 1f Conditional Handicap Hurdle (8Evens30) (4yo+) sft in Jan.
Can't Buy Time (IRE) 10-1 (9-12) Always towards rear, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Prince Of Forwards (10-6) at Thurles 2m 6f hcp hdl 8Evens23 sft in Jan, 15 ran.
De Danu (IRE) 8-1 (10-10) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, ridden in 4th 3 out, no extra before 2 out, 8th of 12, 30l behind Hidden Present (11-3) at Down Royal 2m 4f hcp chs 0-95 hvy in Dec.
Heads Onthe Ground (IRE) 11-2 (11-7) Chased leaders, struggling 29th, moderate 3rd and kept on same pace from 3 out, 3rd of 9, 14l behind Another Jewel (12-3) at Punchestown 4m 1f crs cntry chs (5yo+) gs in May.
Lord Hawkfield (IRE) 4-1 (12-0) Mid div, on terms bef 5out, wknd aftr 3out, sn rr, 7th of 15, 39l behind Commanchewardance (12-0) at Lingstown 3m ire ptp gs in Dec.
Sartorious (IRE) 16-1 (11-4) Mid div, rdn on terms 4out, not qckn 3out, no ex 2out, 10th of 21, 34l behind Breedsbreeze (12-0) at Milltown 3m ire ptp gs in Nov.
Derrinlanna (IRE) 12-1 (11-7) Mid-division, 7th 4 out, soon no extra and pulled up before next, in a race won by Lookoutnow (10-11) at Thurles 2m 6f nov hcp hdl 80-109 hvy in Dec, 14 ran.
Tally Em Up (IRE) 25-1 (10-0) Waited with, 7th approaching 6 out, went 3rd under pressure approaching last, soon no impression and kept on same pace, 3rd of 15, 11l behind Prince Of Forwards (10-6) at Thurles 2m 6f hcp hdl 8Evens23 sft in Jan.