Philip Hobbs won this last year with Captain Chris and produced a brilliant training performance to get Snap Tie to score on the first day here after a very long absence. He'll be hoping Menorah can keep up the run, especially after his best run so far over fences at Aintree where he relished the step-up to 2m4f to beat four rivals in the Grade 1 Manifesto. That was a relatively weak event for a Grade 1 however and he didn't have much to spare over Kumbeshwar over this trip at Kempton in January and the latter has been beaten three times subsequently. FIRST LIEUTENANT would look a good bet here on decent ground and hopefully can handle these conditions. He's finished runner-up to high-class opposition in Last Instalment and Bobs Worth in his two latest starts and his overall form gives him the edge. Blackstairmountain was a bit fortunate to win the Grade 1 Racing Post Novices' at Leopardstown and has struggled against better opposition subsequently though he does hold subsequent Fairyhouse winner Lucky William on that form.
Blackstairmountain (IRE) 20-1 (11-7) Held up in last pair in touch, outpaced 3 out, never on terms, 5th of 6, 36l behind Sprinter Sacre (11-7) at Cheltenham 2m nov chs G1 (1) gd in Mar.
First Lieutenant (IRE) 9-2 (11-4) Tracked leaders on outside, joined leader and took keen hold after 8th, led narrowly before 12th, hard pressed 3 out, headed last, ridden and kept on until no extra final 75 yards, 2nd of 9, 2 1/2l behind Bobs Worth (11-4) at Cheltenham 3m nov chs G1 (1) gd in Mar.
Lucky William (IRE) 5-1fav (11-10) Chased leaders, moderate 5th halfway, headway into 3rd entering straight, ridden to challenge 2 out, led approaching last, kept on well, won at Fairyhouse 2m 1f nov chs gs beating Last Time D'albain (11-0) by 1 1/4l, 17 ran.
Menorah (IRE) 3-1 (11-4) Tracked leaders, hit 10th, mistake 12th, challenged 3 out, led next, clear before last, ran on well, ridden out, won at Aintree 2m 4f nov chs G1 (1) gs beating Cristal Bonus (11-4) by 7l, 5 ran.
Regal D'estruval (FR) 12-1 (11-1) Led, headed 5 out, ridden and weakened next, pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Lucky William (11-10) at Fairyhouse 2m 1f nov chs gs, 17 ran.
Shot From The Hip (GER) 7-4fav (10-12) Settled behind leaders, 5th halfway, ridden and no extra entering straight, 6th of 8, 42l behind Bob Lingo (10-6) at Fairyhouse 2m 1f hcp chs gs.
Kumbeshwar 7-1 (11-2) In touch, chased leader 5 out, lost place 3 out, kept on same pace, no impression before last, 4th of 13, 23l behind Edgardo Sol (11-0) at Aintree 2m hcp chs G3 (1) gs.