Larquebuse left her hurdling debut form behind when forcing what looked for so much of the latter stages a most unlikely dead-heat at Fairyhouse in November, and can consider herself a little unfortunate not to have built on that performance in a Cork Grade 3 last time, with the tactical nature of the race not playing to her strengths. She remains open to further improvement, and should have way too much for the rest of this field.
After showing fairly useful form in bumpers, Fakiera shaped encouragingly on his hurdling debut at Naas last month, unable to make an impression on the useful winner but finishing well on top of the remainder. There ought to be plenty more to come from Gordon Elliott’s gelding and he looks the clear one to beat in this contest.
Listen Dear is reverted to hurdling after her somewhat unsuccessful recent spell over the larger obstacles, and this could be a good opportunity for her to get back to winning ways in receipt of weight from the boys. Her last outing over hurdles saw her run out an eight-length winner at Limerick and she must be of interest here in a trappy looking affair.
Reine Fee probably needed the run when finishing down the field at Clonmel after five months off, and, fitter for that run, resumed her progress all of a sudden when second at Fairyhouse in December. She improved further from a career-high mark when again finding only one too good at Down Royal last time, and she is taken to continue in her excellent vein of recent form and go one better here.
Batcio made the most of a good opportunity to belatedly open his account over fences at Clonmel in December, before again running well, this time at Leopardstown, when runner-up on Boxing Day. He was still in front when departing two from home at the same venue last time, and although it was still too far out to suggest he would have won, he is certainly worth a chance to make amends here.
Poker Party showed no ill-effects from his jumping mishap in the Galway Plate when digging deep to land the Kerry National at Listowel in September, before producing arguably his best performance to date when fourth in the Paddy Power Chase at this venue in December. This looks an altogether less competitive affair and he is the one they all have to get past.
Homme d’un Soir landed a gamble on his debut, creating a very good impression when running out a comfortable winner at Gowran Park in January. He is still open to improvement and, with so many of Gordon Elliott’s inmates running to form at the minute, he is taken to defy his penalty and maintain his unbeaten record. This looks a bumper full of depth however, despite the small field size, and Blazing Khal, along with Say Goodbye, are both interesting contenders.