These Grade 2 novice chases for mares are rare which is why UNE ARTISTE is entered here. Nicky Henderson's mare, the Fred Winter winner at Cheltenham in 2012, made all for a comfortable victory at Huntingdon on her second start over fences and there looks plenty more to come. Aibrean overcame some sticky jumping to win nicely at Naas, giving the impression that she will improve despite her age. Backinthere has run reasonably well at Grade 3 level since making a winning debut over fences at Clonmel in October though she was behind Kates Benefit and Caoimhe's Delight at Cork and the former is looking a nice prospect. Leish Oscar was only moderate over hurdles but looks much better over fences. She was left clear when nearest challenger Mullaghanoe River came down at Down Royal but was going just as well and the latter has since won a better race. Miss Palm landed a Tramore handicap but then couldn't cope with a 5lb rise and a longer trip on this course.
Aibrean (IRE) 7-4fav (11-7) Rear of mid-division, headway from 6th, close 4th travelling well 2 out, led at last, ridden and stayed on well run-in, won at Naas 2m 3f mrs beg chs sft beating Blazing Sonnet (11-7) by 3l, 13 ran.
Backinthere (IRE) 5-1 (10-11) Chased leaders, pushed along 7 out, ridden 5 out, 7th approaching straight, 5th from 2 out, soon no impression and kept on one pace, 4th of 8, 19l behind Dressedtothenines (10-11) at Cork 2m 1f mares nov chs Grade 3 (1) sft in Dec.
Byerley Babe (IRE) 9-10fav (11-7) Soon mid-division, closer order 7th, 3rd 5 out, 4th before straight, challenged travelling smoothly and led before 2 out, left clear last, easily,, won at Limerick 2m 3f beg chs hvy in Dec beating Hill Rock (11-0) by 3 1/2l, 10 ran.
Caoimhe's Delight (IRE) 33-1 (10-13) Chased leader in 2nd, slight mistake 4 out, ridden in 3rd before 2 out, no impression before last, kept on same pace to 2nd run-in, 2nd of 7, 4 1/2l behind Theatre Bird (10-13) at Leopardstown 2m 4f hdl G3 (1) sft in Dec.
Carrigeen Lonicera (IRE) 25-1 (11-2) Tracked leaders, 6th 5 out, ridden and no impression in 7th after 3 out, kept on without threatening from last, 4th of 13, 9l behind Aibrean (11-7) at Naas 2m 3f mrs beg chs sft.
Chiltern Hills (IRE) 7-2 (11-7) Tracked leaders, mistake 3rd, lost place after 6th, soon towards rear, pulled up before 5 out, in a race won by Aibrean (11-7) at Naas 2m 3f mrs beg chs sft, 13 ran.
Kates Benefit (IRE) 13-2 (10-11) Soon led, tended to jump a little left, headed 3rd, close up, on terms before 5 out where slight mistake, soon led, pressed and jumped left 2 out, jumped left again last and headed, rallied, not get to winner, 2nd of 8, 1l behind Dressedtothenines (10-11) at Cork 2m 1f mares nov chs Grade 3 (1) sft in Dec.
Leish Oscar (IRE) 8-1 (11-2) Chased leaders, 3rd halfway, progress to lead 3 out, asserted after 2 out, easily, won at Down Royal 2m 4f beg chs sft in Dec beating Drawn N Drank (11-5) by 13l, 10 ran.
Mini Vic (IRE) 14-1 (11-1) Soon mid-division, moderate 11th 4 out, progress under pressure to chase leaders in 4th before last, ran on well run-in to lead closing stages, won at Tramore 2m 5f hcp hdl 80-102 hvy beating Sacre Malta (11-5) by 1 1/2l, 16 ran.
Miss Palm (IRE) 9-2 (11-12) Towards rear, progress 11th and 5th 3 out, went 3rd before next, under pressure and no impression on winner approaching last, kept on one pace run-in to go moderate 2nd,, 2nd of 18, 9l behind Sterling Stuff (11-0) at Thurles 3m hcp chs 0-102 sft in Dec.
Pur Style (FR) 12-1 (9-10) Tracked leader, 2nd halfway, 3rd approaching straight, ridden and no impression in 6th before last, no extra run-in, 8th of 9, 16l behind She's Got Grit (9-10) at Fairyhouse 2m 4f hcp chs in Dec.
Une Artiste (FR) 8-15fav (11-0) Made all, hard driven when quickened clear from 2 out, ran on well, won at Huntingdon 2m 4f mares nov ch (4) gs in Dec beating Baby Shine (11-0) by 2 1/2l, 5 ran.