Willie Mullins had six of the original ten entries and still runs four but all eyes will be on the Champion Hurdler HURRICANE FLY, who has now won an incredible 15 Grade 1's which includes this race for the past three years. He regained the championship he had lost to Rock On Ruby with a tremendous display at Cheltenham and only the latter stands in his way of a fourth victory in this event. Noel Fehily's decision to attempt to make all on Rock On Ruby at The Festival didn't please everyone but he tried to run the sting out of Hurricane Fly and at one point looked as though he'd succeeded. Similar tactics are likely here and it should be a fascinating spectacle. Galway Hurdle winner Rebel Fitz is admirably tough and consistent though his only start at this level resulted in a fourth place behind Dedigout here a year ago and that form is nowhere near good enough. Thousand Stars invariably plays second fiddle to his illustrious stablemate and his turn may come again in France, as it did last year after finishing third here.
Hurricane Fly (IRE) 13-8fav (11-10) Held up in touch in mid-division, not fluent 4th and shaken up briefly, left 4th at next, closed 3 out, went 2nd just before 2 out, led on bend before last, edged right final 100 yards, driven out, won at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) sft in Mar beating Rock On Ruby (11-10) by 2 1/2l, 9 ran.
Midnight Game 33-1 (11-3) In touch, driven and lost place after 3 out, soon weakened, tailed off when pulled up before last, in a race won by Ted Veale (10-6) at Cheltenham 2m 1f hcp hdl G3 (1) gs in Mar, 28 ran.
Mister Benedictine 5-1 (11-9) Soon chased leaders, no extra under pressure from before straight, pulled up before 2 out, cut on right fore cannon, reported to have never travelled, in a race won by Caim Hill (10-13) at Bellewstown 2m 4f hcp hdl in Aug, 12 ran.
Rebel Fitz (FR) 4-5fav (11-12) Chased leader in 2nd early, 3rd from 6 out, pushed along after 4 out, stayed on into 2nd entering straight, challenged 3 out, ridden in 2nd and no extra before last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 5, 5l behind Tarla (11-5) at Cork 2m 4f hdl hvy in Mar.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 11-2 (11-10) Raced freely, led, hit 2 out, ridden and headed on bend before last, stayed on flat, no impression on winner, 2nd of 9, 2 1/2l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Cheltenham 2m hdl G1 (1) sft in Mar.
So Young (FR) 20-1 (11-10) Held up behind, outpaced 3 out, never able to challenge, weakened 2 out, tailed off when hit last, 9th of 13, well behind Solwhit (11-10) at Cheltenham 3m hdl G1 (1) gs in Mar.
Thousand Stars (FR) 10-1 (11-7) Tracked leader, challenged 3 out, every chance 2 out, kept on from last, 3rd of 9, 1 3/4l behind Zarkandar (11-7) at Aintree 2m 4f hdl G1 (1) gd.