This is a magnificent but also extremely heavy weekend of sport, so I’m afraid that you want be getting the full deep dive experience. If there’s any horses you want rated or anything you want explaining, then please do let me know – I’m on Twitter, @KeejayOV2
12.50 – Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors 50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) (5yo+): A corking race with many viable contenders. This is a long time between drinks for Commander Of Fleet, our ante-post tip for the Neptune, and this step back up in trip really ought to suit him down to the ground. He never had a chance in a farcically run Royal Bond but the form of that race has worked out better than many might have suspected. Relegate ought to enjoy this trip although the Champion Bumper form isn’t working out so well right now. Salsaretta and Dunevegan are huge contenders and Embrun Mitja was a taking debut winner at Naas but a 20/1 shot won this last year so a big surprise wouldn’t be a shock.
Advice: 1 pt win Commander Of Fleet (9/2 general)
1.25 – 2m BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+): The burning question is how Apple’s Jade copes with a first drop down to the minimum trip in over a year. She ought to take the beating no matter what, but Supasundae won this last year after a similar campaign to the one he’s had this time around, and if he improved once again from his second in the Ryanair Hurdle then he can go very close. Melon, who ought to improve a lot from his fourth at Christmas, is the the spanner in the works and perhaps of interest to run very well again in the Champion Hurdle.
Advice: 1 pt win Supasundae (3/1 general)
2.00 – 2m Ladbrokes Hurdle (Grade B Handicap) (4yo+ 0-150): There’s a lot to like about Jetez, who was an impressive winner over Christmas of a competitive handicap hurdle, and he was the only horse to make significant ground up on the wide margin winner Felix Desjy in the Moscow Flyer novice hurdle. A well run big field contest at 2 miles ought to bring the best out of him and 136 seems a fair mark. It will be very hard to beat Wonder Laish and Uradel.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Jetez (14/1 general)
2.35 – 2m Matheson (C & G) I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) (4-7yo): A fascinating set of Champion bumper Clues, as the unbeaten Envoi Allen, a very taking winner of the “Future Champions” Flat Race at Navan when putting the race to bed with a sharp turn of foot. That form has been underlined with substance thanks to the taking win of the third Run Wild Fred, who reopposes here Mount Leinster runs here in the colours of the Roaringwater Syndicate, who las last year’s winner in Blackbow, and it is interesting that he comes here after being beaten at Christmas. Joesph O’Brien’s Meticulous was behind but is also returned here, and Embittered, Abracadabra and Beacon Edge are all worth watching closely in the market.
Advice: No bet.
3.10 – 2m1f Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+): Min bounced back from a defeat to Simply Ned to win this in style last season and there aren’t too many 2 milers that are better outside of Altior. He’s too short to back now, but Saint Calvados, who had Footpad beaten when he fell in the Poplar Square Chase, might be able to chase him home even with Special Tiara likely to pressure him for the lead.
Advice: No bet.
3.45 – Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+): Le Richebourg was a deeply impressive winner of the Racing Post Novice Chase when he smashe stablemate Us And Them, Voix Du Reve, and Mengli Khan. Any sort of repeat will make him very tough to beat here and he can get the better of Knocknauss, assuming that he can keep tabs on him early on. Paloma Blue must jump better than when winning her last time, and so must Mengli Khan.
Advice: 5 pts win Le Richebourg (7/4 general)
4.20 – 2m1f Goffs Handicap Chase (Grade B) (5yo+ 0-150): Moon Over Germany has run very well in his two chase starts, the first time finishing 10 lengths behind Getabird (when just three lengths behind the subsequent winner Articulum) and then when second here behind Paloma Blue at Christmas. He would have been third had Real Steel stood up but given how Real Steel won at Fairyhouse subsequently there was not wrong with that form and a mark of 135 and since then the useful Impact Factor has twice finished runner up in decent races. Kildorrey and Mind’s Eye are similar types who should go well and Tisamystery might be much older, but as a two time winner of the 2m1f handicap at Christmas he here ought to go well.
Advice: 1 pt win Moon Over Germany (4/1 general)
Ante Post: 1 pt each/way Commander Of Fleet, Ballymore Hurdle, January 5th (25/1 Betfair, Paddy Power)
2.25 – 2 pts win Lostintranslation (5/2 general)
3.00 – 1 pt each/way Folsom Blue (12/1 general)