Willie has two runners in this one with jockey bookings suggesting Power of Pause could be the best of them. Sneaky Getaway was a really good Flat hose though for Emmet Mullins, so I wouldn’t discount his chances. Power of Pause won well at Clonmel, drops down in trip which should suit and so should the track at Punchestown.
Finest Evermore has won her last three and is going in the right direction and this contest has been her target for a while. We’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t collect. There’s no shortage of good mares in Willie’s yard but Finest Evermore is the one who will be best suited by a 2m 4f trip.
Chacun Pour Soi pulled out of Cheltenham on the morning of the Champion Chase with a stone bruise and we haven’t seen him since because of the pandemic. He reappears in the Hilly Way Chase and falling on December 6 and it gives us the full three weeks to Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.
That looks an ideal prep and he’s a very good horse. Cash Back and Djingle should ensure it’s a good pace and I just hope Chacun Pour Soi gets a clear year, so people get to see the horse we think he is. He beat Min at Leopardstown last year (who went on to win the Ryanair Chase and is rated 172), so his form when on song is there for all to see.
The feature race of the day – indeed the weekend in Ireland – and it’s a fantastic contest. I rode Min in his work during the week and he’s in really good form and Punchestown really suits him as the record shows. But there’s some really good opposition in this.
With Paul Townend in Cork, Patrick Mullins gets the ride on him and I think practically all the opposition are new to Min, too. I don’t think he has run against any of these horses before. Min is a battle-hardened, seasoned-campaigner and a proven Grade One performer while a lot of the rest are Grade One horses in novice company and are running in Grade One open company for the first time.
So many of the field like Allaho, Battleoverdoyen, Le Richebourg, Samcro and Tornado Flyer are all stepping out of novice company this season. That makes a big difference – they’ll have to step up in form.
He’s defending his crown and is actually looking for a three-peat in the John Durkan Chase. It’s a really good renewal – but the percentage call is Min.
The only other runner Willie has at Cork is Sapphire Lady and Paul Townend is also on board in the Grade 3 Novices’ Chase.
The heavy ground is a concern, but she won really well on debut at Thurles. It’s a decent race with Western Victory and Heaven Help Us setting a fair standard. You couldn’t have asked for anymore there, but my only concern would be if it’s really testing ground at Cork on Sunday.
A four-year-old bumper where Patrick rides Aslukwoodhavit and we like what we see at home. We were a bit disappointed that another of ours, Reality Cheque got beaten last Saturday at Fairyhouse, but I really like this guy and think he can win.
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