It might prove beneficial to side against several of those with previous experience and take a punt on VISCOURT GORT in the first-division of this maiden hurdle. The Henry de Bromhead trained five-year-old cost €34,000 at the Tattersalls Derby sale in June 2018 and finally makes his belated debut with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle today.
The son of Presenting is out of an unraced dam, Liss Aris who is closely related to Gusty Rocky and it wouldn’t be a major surprise if he secured a winning debut in an average looking contest. Ennemi Public also runs for Gigginstown having finished third for Gordon Elliott at Downpatrick last month, while Capilano Bridge and Moonlight Symphony are two other exposed runners hoping to finally win over hurdles.
It’s at this time of the season that Willie Mullins begins to fire in plenty of winners and POWER OF PAUSE can get off the mark over hurdles here under Paul Townend. The five-year-old ran well at Galway on his latest start and moved to the Mullins camp following a Punchestown point to point victory for Pat Turley in April 2019.
He’s bound to know his job on his hurdles debut for the Mullins team who landed this race with the talented Killultagh Vic in 2014. Face The Odds drops back in trip and has plenty of experience for the in-form Noel Meade, while Torygraph could also run a nice race and reach the frame for Gordon Elliott.
WESTERNER POINT has been a model of consistency and a great money-spinner for connections over many seasons and should go close to securing back to back victories in this staying handicap hurdle. Despite racing off a nine-pound higher mark (125) this year, the now 11-year-old has been running well in recent months for trainer Eoghan O’Grady. He’s only raced twice this calendar year and finished a good third in the Munster National at Limerick last month and now reverts back to hurdles today.
He’ll be once again ridden forward if not making the running under Phillip Enright and I’d be disappointed if he’s not among the places. Elsewhere, Impatient Parther looks one of the main dangers for the in-form Noel Meade and J.P McManus team. He should be suited by the extra-distance here, while Desire De Joie is another to watch now stepping into handicap company and having the seven-pound claim of jockey Gavin Brouder.
Willie Mullins has won six of the previous ten-renewals of this Listed mares chase and can do so again this year with CABARET QUEEN. The Kerry National winner drops back in trip following her game success at Listowel last month and should have enough class to see off main rivals Shattered Love and Magic Of Light.
Shattered Love won this race last year for Gordon Elliott and should improve for her seasonal debut at Punchestown last month and run well today. The form of that race has worked out nicely with stable-mate, The Storyteller recently winning the big one at Down Royal.
However, Cabaret Queen should have plenty left in the tank at the business end of this contest to see off the Elliott runner with former Aintree National second Magic Of Light perhaps needing the run here on her seasonal return.
The feature Clonmel Oil Chase has many fond memories for me over the years with the likes of Beef Or Salmon, Edredon Bleu, Rathgar Beau, War Of Attrition, Sizing Europe, Champagne Fever and Douvan all classy horses to win this race. Despite an unknown over the trip, it’s hard to look past the vastly superior rating (163) of CILAOS EMERY for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.
The Champion Hurdle fourth returns to chasing with a 75% strike-rate over fences, winning three of his four career starts over the bigger obstacles, including the Hilly Way Chase at Cork last December. He’s only ever raced beyond 17-furlongs once when finishing fourth in the Hatton’s Grace of 2017, but Willie Mullins has farmed this race in recent years, winning five of the last seven renewals.
Alpha Des Obeaux and Snow Falcon return and drop in trip after finishing behind The Storyteller at Down Royal, while Paloma Blue might improve with cheekpieces applied today. Elsewhere, Bachasson could represent the biggest danger to his stable-mate having secured an impressive victory here over Death Duty in March and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mullins records a 1-2.
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