There was a prevailing smell of scorched fingers when PONT ALEXANDRE was beaten in the Neptune Investment at Cheltenham as he was considered an Irish banker of the meeting. He ran well enough but just didn't have the pace to cope with The New One and Rule The World and he remains a long-term chasing prospect. He's expected to regain winning ways but it's no surprise that Gary Moore has elected to send Ubak here after his demolition job at Aintree. He was well behind the selection at Cheltenham but clearly showed massive improvement to land the Grade 1 Mersey Novices' Hurdle and it wouldn't be a shock if her were to prevail here. Sizing Rio is a smart prospect though his overall form to date falls just short of the required level and Mullaghanoe River is taking a massive leap from maiden company. The selection's stablemate Un Atout ran well behind Champagne Fever at Cheltenham where a blunder three out didn't help and he's no forlorn hope to cause an upset.
Mullaghanoe River (IRE) 7-4fav (11-10) Waited with, 8th after 4 out, moderate 6th before straight, soon closed travelling well, challenged and on terms 2 out, soon led, stayed on well and clear run-in, won at Navan 2m 4f mdn hdl hvy in Feb beating Gold Bullet (11-10) by 3 1/2l, 12 ran.
Pont Alexandre (GER) 6-4fav (11-7) With leader, led 2nd, headed after 4th, led again 3 out, ridden and headed approaching last, stayed on same pace flat, no impression on front pair, 3rd of 8, 9l behind The New One (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m 5f nov hdl Grade 1 (1) gs in Mar.
Sizing Rio (IRE) 6-1 (11-7) Tracked leaders in 4th, 3rd from 4 out and went 2nd briefly 2 out, ridden and no impression in 3rd before last, kept on one pace, 3rd of 6, 10l behind Pique Sous (11-4) at Fairyhouse 2m nov hdl G2 (1).
Ubak (FR) 22-1 (11-4) Held up towards rear, headway approaching 6th, pushed along before 3 out, led and mistake 2 out, driven clear after last, stayed on strongly, won at Aintree 2m 4f nov hdl G2 (1) gs beating Utopie Des Bordes (10-11) by 16l, 8 ran.
Un Atout (FR) 6-1 (11-7) Tracked winner, blundered 3 out, driven and outpaced in 3rd between last 2, 4th and beaten when mistake last, 4th of 12, 18l behind Champagne Fever (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m nov hdl Grade 1 (1) sft in Mar.