A magnificent carrier ended in spectacular style as Ruby Walsh took the Irish Gold Cup and then immediately announced his retirement. A good day for us too, with plenty of winners to keep things ticking over.
3.40 – JLT Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 88-123): Tricky to get a real handle on things here but Drop The Anchor has made progress with every single start over hurdles and could be about ready now for a handicap, having finished third at Gowran when last seen. He shaded a tight call.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Drop The Anchor (8/1 general)
4.10 – Pigsback.com Handicap Chase (Grade B) (4yo+): Snugsbrough Hall was going beautifully when he was carried out at Fairyhouse and off just 10-1 he can go very close to making amends for that here. Grand Annual 1-2 Bun Doran and Croco Bay both have fair chances here for a strong raiding team, and Moon Over Germany was a wildly impressive winner at Aintree although he’s not had much time to recover from that and he’s been hammered in the handicap.
Advice: 2 pts win Snugsbrough Hall (11/4 general)
4.50 – Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase (5yo+): 36 fences for your jumping joy. Josies Orders was second last year before taking the Bankers race on the Saturday of the Festival, and following a credible second behind Tiger Roll, he can give Enda Bolger another win over the banks here, although at 4/5 it’s not really a price to be playing at. Jarob was well beaten there but will be a good deal closer on this quicker ground whilst Sizing Coal has to be involved on the basis of his very good hunter chasing form. The versatile King’s Song has very valid place prospects, as does Ballybroker Bridge.
Advice: Watch and enjoy.
5.30 – Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+): This is not the greatest renewal of this race that was ever run and a repeat of Aux Ptits Soins brilliant Aintree win could give him very realistic prospects. He was a graded performer for Paul Nicholls before injury intervened and the manner of his Aintree win suggests that he can match the rating of Bapaume, who is a worthy favorite on the basis of his stayers’ fourth, but also an exposed horse despite his young age. Bacardys’ jumping is nightmarish and he is swerved, with more interest in Not Many Left (third in the Pertemps, and then second in the Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle when he didn’t get the best run.
Vision Des Flos was disappointing in the Coral Cup but every other run of his in 2019 would give him a serious claim to be involved, including his second to Liverpool Hurdle winner If The Cap Fits in the National Spirit Hurdle. If he’s on that form, he can go closely. Cracking Smart has the raw ability to get involved, but there are doubts over, Unowhatimeanharry, Killultagh Vic, Dortmund Park, and Prince Of Scars.
Advice: 1 pt win Aux Ptits Soins (4/1 general), 1 pt each/way Vison Des Flos (8/1 general)
6.05 – Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+): It is a surprise to see Small Farm at such a big price. The form of his Limerick all the way Limerick maiden hurdle win has worked out exceptionally well for the contest, with runner up Voix Des Tiep since finishing second and winning once again, whilst third Minella Indo (nine lengths behind that day) has since won staying novice Championships at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals. That race took place over 2m4f, but Small Farm looks as if he’ll get further and 130 is a very reasonable mark for him.
Of those at the top of the market, Cuneo could be the one. He travelled brilliantly into the Petemps Final and probably made his attempt to win the race too soon having come very wide before fading into fourth, but today’s track and ground will be less testing, giving him a fine chance even if the handicapper knows plenty about him; he should be competitive off 136. Three Musketeers, who took a valuable handicap hurdle at the Grand National meeting, can find more improvement for Gordon Elliott and 3 miles around here should do him a power of good.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Small Farm (28/1 Ladbrokes, 25/1 general), 1 pt each/way Cuneo (15/2 general)
6.40 – Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+): A belting contest and a race not to be missed. Defi Du Seuil’s collateral form is probably stronger than that of Duc Des Genievres, who was out in front and missed trouble in the Arkle, but he was tremendously impressive there and has found his natural element as a chaser. The time of the race bodes well – muc better than the bare form in behind – and he may have too much toe for Defi Du Seuil, who has always looked happier over 2m4f. Chacun Pour Soi is the unknown quanity, but what we do know is that he’s relentleslly fast based on his one beginners chase win for Wllie Mullins at Naas. Ornua too advantage of a weak race at Aintree for the Maghull and Voix Du Reve has had a long and hard season, having won the Powers Gold Cup just 11 days ago.
Advice: 2 pts Duc De Genievres (2/1 general)
7.15 – Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed Race) (4yo+): Elfie will be the popular choice following her second behind Honeysuckle but perhaps this 2 mile trip will suit Black Tears, who was ahead of her at Cheltenham in the Mares’ Novice. Her stamina gave way late but this could be more of a speed test and that earns her the vote here. Watch out for an improved run from Allez dance, who flopped at Cheltenham.
Advice: 1 pt win Black Tears (5/2 general)
7.45 – Kildare Post (C & G) INH Flat Race (4-7yo): The Big Getaway, a wide margin point to point winner at Meadowview Stables, was a big raw and green when beaten first time out at Navan. He’ll do better but faced stiff competition from winners You Raised Me Up, Cayd Boy, and Fury Road, who is perhaps the most interesting of them. He met a number of very nice prospects when he was fifth at Leopardstown over Christmas and has since run out an easy winner of a Fairyhouse bumper too. He might be a god deal stronger now and that makes him interesting, as does the fact Gordon Elliott sees fit to up him in class again. Sixhsooter has been brought by GIgginstown since an impressive debut at Leopardstown.
Advice: 1 pt win Fury Road (7/1 general)