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Willie Mullins introduces a horse called SAINT SAM, who has won twice in France, here. Those victories came in Dieppe in June and Clairefontaine in July, which give him plenty of experience coming in to this one. He’s a gorgeous looking horse I have to say, but he does carry a 5lb penalty here because of those French successes.
Gordon Elliott’s Zanahiyr was a good winner at Ballinrobe last month when he beat Dark Voyager, but Dark Voyager didn’t do the form any good at Punchestown – even if he ran too bad to be true there. Druids Altar from the Joseph O’Brien yard is another one to be wary of, but we really like Saint Sam to take this because he goes really well.
BALLYADAM will be very hard to beat in this and he was really impressive in Down Royal at the end of last month. He also caught the eye in his bumper last season. He got beaten first time up, it I reckon that was a huge shock to Gordon Elliott and everyone in Cullentra House.
Cask Mate was a good winner at Punchestown on his last start when he beat Dewcup, but they meet on much different weight terms here. Elsewhere, Annexation was second to N’golo in the For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan and I would expect N’golo to uphold that form here. However, I just can’t see any of them being able to beat Ballyadam.
A monster field over 3m 5f for the valuable Porterstown Handicap Chase. I thought Court Maid ran really well at Punchestown a few weeks ago, as did Roaring Bull at Navan when second to the really well handicapped The Jam Man. Captain CJ pulled up in the Cork National, but really likes Fairyhouse and should be a lot fitter for that outing.
Willie Mullins saddles Voix Des Tiep ran better than his finishing position suggests behind Daly Tiger at Punchestown, as did Forza Milan in the Troytown Chase. Both have each-way chances. The one that could be progressive though is Tom Mullins’ CHAVI ARTIST who won a 2m 6f Handicap Chase at Punchestown two weeks ago, I thought Jack Foley got a really good tune out of him in that race. Of my two against the field, I’ll be siding with Chavi Artist and Forza Milan each-way.
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The Grade One Hatton’s Grace Hurdle is the feature race on the card and the brilliant mare HONEYSUCKLE is going for a repeat win. She is an incredible mare and is unbeaten on the racetrack. However, last year she had a prep run three weeks before winning this contest and this time she makes her seasonal debut in the race.
Fitness will be against her this time with Fury Road, Ronald Pump and Beacon Edge all having had a run. I’d just be a little more cautious than this time last year, but don’t let me put you off backing Honeysuckle and maybe Beacon Edge could be the one to follow her home.
Willie Mullins saddles a couple of runners here in Ciel De Neige, Getaway Gorgeous and Hybery. Jody McGarvey rides Ciel De Neige who is the highest of Willie’s in the ratings. Paul Townend has opted to ride Getaway Gorgeous of Willie’s other two. Meanwhile, Mark Walsh rides Cayd Boy for Elizabeth Doyle.
However, the Down Royal race Hybery ran in went completely against him. He made a terrible mistake at the first and then got caught out the back in a slowly run race after that. He carries 10-6 and David Mullins rides him now. With more luck this time. HYBERY could be the pick of the bunch.
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