A two-mile beginners chase where EPSON DU HOUX stands out and should go close to winning for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. The lightly raced six-year-old is having a second start over fences following a fall behind Andy Dufresne at Wexford at the end of October.
Having been off the track since his maiden hurdle success here at Clonmel in February, the Gigginstown owned runner got tired when looking to have third-place secured before falling at the second-last. He returns after a break for an inform stable and his recent race fitness, a spin over fences and previous course knowledge should see him go very close to victory.
The two-mile maiden hurdle looks an open affair with plenty of horses in with chances on current form. COOLE ARCADE catches the eye here for John Clifford on a return to maiden hurdle company, having finished fourth in a handicap at Fairyhouse last month. He’s lightly-raced under rules with just four-starts and can challenge under in-form jockey Brian Hayes.
This six-year-old previously finished behind Call Me Lyreen at Tramore in September and was also beaten behind Queens Brook in early October. Those runs behind two nice Gordon Elliott runners reads nicely to suggest this maiden hurdle is well within his ability. Elsewhere, Centurion Steel will be popular for Henry de Bromhead with a handful of others bang in contention – it looks a race to watch with plenty of these looking capable of perhaps winning races in handicap company down the line.
The Willie Mullins team is absolutely flying at present with the champion trainer saddling both Burrows Saint and Scarpeta within a small-field for this conditions hurdle. We’ve not seen the former Irish National winner since his victory over hurdles at Punchestown last December, while Scarpeta has been side-lined since March 2019.
Despite giving plenty of weight to rivals here, BURROWS SAINT can dominate from the front and relish the extra distance to win in similar fashion to his success at Punchestown. Dallas Des Pictons has recent race fitness on his side but was well beaten on return at Limerick, while former winner Scarpeta could give the Mullins team a one-two if showing some spark after his break.
The Mullins team can close the card with a winner in this qualified riders’ maiden hurdle with French-import CAPODANNO under Patrick Mullins. J.P McManus spent €185,000 on the son of Manduro following his second-place finish in a conditions hurdle at Compiegne last November. His future entry in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas suggests this horse has been working well at home and gets the verdict in the lucky last.
Dreamingandhoping has some nice form this year for Declan Queally which includes a victory in a mares’ bumper at Punchestown. Eilise’s A Lady should run well on her hurdles debut following a nice effort in the listed mares’ bumper at Gowran Park in early November. Elsewhere, despite a disappointing debut over hurdles at Punchestown last month, Getaway Pat is another who should improve for Henry de Bromhead and Barry O’Neill.
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