NAP – LUCCIA (4.50)
NB – ROYAL THIEF (5.30)
EACH WAY – GLIMPSE OF GALA (2.10)
MIGHTY POTTER is very highly thought of at Gordon Elliott’s yard and is considered a potential God Cup horse next year. If that is to be the case, he can be considered a good thing in this. He has won his three chases with ease so far, including beating Tuesday winner Gaillard Du Mesnil (albeit over a short enough trip for him) with Banbridge further behind. He was then mighty impressive at the Dublin Racing Festival last time. he did pull up in last year’s Supreme after boiling over in the preliminaries which is a nagging doubt for one at such a short price, but on ability alone, he’s the likeliest winner.
I did want to make a case for Banbridge overturning Drinmore form with Mighty Potter, but I think the forecast rain will scupper his hopes and the favourite is a solid proposition.
The Pertemps is always a competitive renewal, and this year is no different.
Thanksforthehelp won so impressively at Chepstow for Davis Pipe that an 11lb rise may not stop him and e is bound to be popular at the head of the market.
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At a much bigger price though, GLIMPSE OF GALA has been complete overlooked. She is very consistent at staying trips, having beaten her own sex convincingly at Kempton in December before winning a qualifier for this at Warwick in January. She won’t mind if the ground goes soft, a 5lb rise is fair for that Warwick win and the cheekpieces go on for the first time too. I think she’ll outrun her price of around 33/1.
Northern raider, Coltor is no forlorn hope either. A useful flat stayer when with Dermot Weld, he finished fifth in the Boodles juvenile two years ago and was a gallant second at Musselburgh last month to qualify. Another at a price that could go well.
I’ve felt like a lone soldier in recent weeks amongst a wave of Shishkin supporters ahead of the Ryanair Chase. It was an impressive return in the Ascot Chase granted, but he put up a massive effort that needs to be backed up after all his issues, while the form is questionable. If a tip top on sing Shishkin turns up, he will take the beating, but he didn’t last year and blew up in the Tingle Creek. He is not for me at odds on.
Janadil was second last year to the absent Allaho but Michael O’Leary could win his own race again with the Gigginstown owned FURY ROAD. Stop the Irish Gold Cup at the last fence, and Fury Road was ahead of Galopin Des Champs before fading up the run in. He has some top decent Grade 1 form on his CV and rates a solid each way proposition at double figure prices.
"I think he's got a great chance [in the Ryanair]. He's a proper Grade 1 horse with really solid form & the race should suit him.
"He wasn't beaten far in the Albert Bartlett a few years ago and he'll head to Cheltenham with really solid claims."
A wide-open looking renewal of the Stayers’ Hurdle looks on the cards with the Irish dominating the head of the market. A few doubts surround the wellbeing of ‘new kid on the block’ Blazing Khal and two-time hero Flooring Porter if reports from the respective yards are to be believed. Teahupoolooks the most solid of those at the head of the market, but he never went a yard in last year’s Champion Hurdle and has never faced a true test at this trip.
Home By The Lee brings the best form into the race having won the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, form that ties in well with Blazing Khal and should go well, but I’m going to chance a French raider.
GOLD TWEET was nibbled at in the market ahead of the Cleeve Hurdle and duly obliged in simple fashion, seeing off Dshal Drasher and Paisley Park with relative ease. He has been supplemented for the race at a cost of £15,000, a top four finish will return a profit, but in light of the rain forecast, he will get conditions he is accustomed to in France.
The other French raider, Henri Le Farceur is also considered at around 25/1 for each way backers in a race that could be ripe for a turn up.
The Plate is always an ultra-competitive handicap, another version of the two and a half mile chases run at Cheltenham throughout the season.
Coole Cody is 2lb lower than wen wining the race last year, but it will be a surprise if this 12yo can retain his crown.
Midnight River won the New Years Day race over track and trip and has been rested since. He is a player up 7lb while So Scottish has been missing since November with this as the target and is respected. In fact, almost the entire field are considered but I will take a chance on IL RIDOTO for Paul Nicholls. He s 2lb worse off with Fugitif for their battle on Trials’ Day in which he had a length in hand but it was a deserved victory after some fine efforts in defeat and this 6yo is still open to improvement now he has found the winning thread.
At a bigger price, Seddon sauntered to victory at the Dublin Racing Festival in a conditional jockeys contest last time and despite a 20lb rise from the British handicapper, his form figures for his new stable of 2311 including a course success must be respected.
One of the bankers of the meeting looks set to go n the Mares’ Novice Hurdle courtesy of Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten LUCCIA.
She handled soft ground well when wining the listed mares’ bumper at Sandown last March and has reigned Supreme in two novice hurdles so far, beating useful company on the bridle at Exeter last month. She sat just in behind the pace there and as the frontrunners faded tamely, she sauntered clear in the style of a very useful mare. It will take a god performance to lower her colours.
Ashroe Diamond was a notable absentee at declaration time. You Wear It Well brings the strong Challow Hurdle for to the table and is considered for each way backers, as is Magical Zoe. She is trained by Henry De Bromhead who bids to win the race named after his son so tragically killed last year. The scenes of Honeysuckle will be replicated and more if Henry can win Jack’s race.
5.30 – ROYAL THIEF
The Kim Muir for Amateur riders could be real test on soft ground if the forecast rain arrives by 5.30 on Thursday.
Stumptown put up a big performance to win at Sandown with the form franked when the second scored nicely last week. That run was on good ground though and despite a soft ground maiden hurdle success, he may prefer better ground.
Angels Dawn looks to have a good chance too after an untimely unseat when in contention at Punchestown last month, but I will side with another Irish raider in ROYAL THIEF. This lightly raced 9yo was once sent off Evens favourite to beat Conflated in a bumper and just has the hallmarks of a stout staying chaser who needs cut in the ground. He got it when running out an impressive winner of a similar contest at Punchestown in January on just his third chase start and he rates a massive player at a decent price.
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