A couple of reverses again yesterday, although Supasundae’s strong effort to finish second in the Champion Hurdle and Caid Du Beralis’ wide margin win helped cushion the blow of City Island and Barra running poor races. Onto the last day of what’s been an extremely exciting week, and a pleasure to share with you all.
2.35 – Dooley Insurance Group Cross Country Chase (5yo+): Hurricane Darwin was last seen finishing second to Josies Orders over this exact course and distance, but he’s had an 83-day break whilst Josies Orders has since gone to Cheltenham and then finished exhausted when a well-beaten third in the La Touche. Ballycasey will go well at his best but was not brilliant here in between two Cheltenham runs. This is a lot harder than the Ladies Pertemptual Cup which Blue Templar won, when Ballinsallia was a well-beaten fourth.
Advice: 2 pts win Hurricane Darwin (2/1 Paddy Power)
3.10 BoyleSports Handicap Chase (5yo+ 0-145): This doesn’t appeal much at face value, with Minella Awards and Redhotfillypeppers both talented but precious little experience to go on over fences. Redhotfillypeppers also has to answer a stamina question, and so does C’Est Jersey, whilst Measureofmydreams is backed as if he’s well handicapped but was disappointing in the Kim Muir. Some Neck might be best of Mullins but he was poor without any reason in the National Trial and it might be worth chancing Regal Encore. He can be in and out, but this is nowhere near the quality of the National and if he’s over Aintree then he’s probably got more ability than most in the field as joint top weight would suggest.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Regal Encore (10/1 Paddy Power)
3.50 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+): Not enough opposition for Benie Des Dieux to make her a proper price which is a shame. It’s interesting that Nicky Henderson runs With Discretion (unbeaten in two for the stable) here, though.
Advice: No bet.
4.25 – AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo): Fusil Raffles left a huge impression on his British debut in the Adonis but if Fakir D’Oudaries isn’t over the top after his excellent second in the Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree then he’ll set a high standard for the raider to aim at and perhaps the price difference shouldn’t be quite so big between the two given how close he pushed Pentland Hills (Triumph winner). French Made, who improved massively from her Triumph eighth to take a Fairyhouse Grade 2 (Way Back Home much further behind), should be on the premises but don’t forget Surin, who wasn’t far behind in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle either.
Coko Beach’s second in the Fred Winter is fair form, although he was getting 5lbs from the winner – who was more than two lengths his superior.
Advice: 2 pts win Fakir D’Oudaries (5/2 Hills)
5.00 – Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150): This doesn’t look as if it’ll take a huge amount of winning for a Grade B. Walk To Freedom’s hurdling form makes a mark of 136 look very fair and his first run for over three years was a good one when he was third at Fairyhouse. That form will give him a strong chance here and he earns a vote over the returning Acting Lass (439 days off, but very smart when last seen) and Young Paddymc. Bellow Mome, fifth in the Irish National, Is the big threat.
Advice: 1 pt win Walk To Freedom (4/1 general)
5.35 – Ballymore Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) (4yo+): It’s obvious but if Canardier isn’t feeling the effects of his fine runs at Cheltenham and Aintree – and his only previous run this season was in October – then he’s got by far the best form and he’s going to take lots of beating. This is a talented field but there are lots of questions around his rivals, any of whom could win. Take a chance on Stratum, who looked group class on the level last season and who might now want this trip rather than the 2 miles he ran over in December. If he’s back to his best form, he could thrive going this far over hurdles. Golden Spear ought to go well if handling this extra trip, and Woodland Opera is interesting back over hurdles.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Canardier (7/1 general), 1 pt each/way Stratum (14/1 general)
6.10 – K Club Hotel & Resort (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race (4-7yo): Another bumper to keep an eye on, but not one to play in. The Joe Donnelly colours’ have been seen to great effect this week even if they’ve had no winners and Tactical Move, a second at Monksgrave who has had that form franked since, is the current favourite for Patrick and Wille Mullins. Ard Abhainn runs in the Fayonagh colours having won a Lingstown maiden a year ago, and under the care of Gordon Elliott, will obviously attract attention himself. With Derek O’Connor aboard for Robert Tyner, Extreme Cacao will have his backers, and Silver Sheen showed a lot of improvement from his pointing debut in January to take a maiden for Paul Cashman, belying on course odds of 8/1.
Advice: Take the notebook out and get yourself a well-earned pint.
6.40 – 30th Running Punchestown Charity Race (4yo+): No. It’s been nearly a week, OK? Just no. Go and talk to your family.