Niall O’ Reilly
A very lightly raced 6 year old who looks on a nice mark of 130, in a race that should suit. Robbie Power has been booked to take the ride, which is interesting as the stable booked him at this meeting last year to take the ride on the gambled on winner Bold Plan in a hurdle race, so it may be a pointer that they fancy him. Trainers comments last February suggested the plan was to give SECRET REPRIEVE an extended break to let him mature, so the break is no worry, while a Welsh National entry also suggests he’s highly thought of. He looks of real interest here.
JP McManus has four runners in this but I’m hoping DAMALISQUE can prove the best of them. He started life in Eddie Harty’s by running in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Fairyhouse but has dropped to what looks a very appealing mark. He hasn’t been seen over hurdles since September 2018, but he wasn’t beaten all that far and ran a very encouraging race on the level last month at the Curragh when finishing second to Mt Leinster. Simon Torrens takes off a very valuable 5lbs so there’s a lot to suggest he could go very close in this.
This is a cracking beginners chase with Commander of Fleet making his reappearance after missing last season & Janidil for the Mullins camp who landed some nice handicaps in Ireland last season before finishing 5th in what looks a very strong Albert Barlett. The one I like is CEDARWOOD ROAD for Gearoid O Loughlin. He was a very impressive winner at Leopardstown at Christmas & then stepped up on that to win a Listed race at Naas under a brilliant Davy Russell ride. He was purposely kept away from Cheltenham last season with chasing in mind & he looks a very nice recruit to the chasing division for a trainer who had Coeur Sublime run a cracker in the Morgiana last weekend.
I like the look of ALMINAR here who appears to have a few things going for him at a double-figure price. He ran a nice race on his reappearance at Cheltenham and now has the services of a professional jockey back in the saddle. Being only 7 he is one of the least exposed in the field, but has already shown his love of both deep ground and stamina-testing trips. Coupled with the fact he is one of only three horses carrying under 11 stone tomorrow he looks capable of improving on his podium finish last time.
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Lorcan O’ Rourke
MIGHTY HEART can bounce back from a lacklustre effort in his bid for the Canadian Triple Crown last time out having been caught in a pace duel over a trip that will have stretched him. He should get a solo in front here with a jockey upgrade in Rafael Hernandez, and the step back to 9f from 12f in his favour also will make him hard to beat in this renewal of the Ontario Derby.
Our trader’s top tips for Saturday
Top tips for the Millionaire Chase qualifier
It’s the second qualifier for our New Year’s Day sweepstake where Paddy will be giving away £/€1 MILLION.
- Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s punts for the race at 15.17
- Paddy’s punting panel reveal their selections
- Our runner-by-runner guide to the big race at Ascot