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BACHASSON is getting better with age, but I have one slight concern and that’s dropping back down to under the minimum trip at 1m 7f. It’s been a long time since he won a 2m race, with 2-and-a-half miles and even up to 3m more his trip.
Beacon Edge sets a fair level of form. I know he has to give Bachasson 7lbs, which theoretically makes him 1lb wrong, but 2m is much more Beacon Edge’s trip than Bachasson and I reckon he’s a big danger.
EL BARRA looks to be the one here, with Arctic Warrior second reserve. However, El Barra has to overcome a very poor run at Christmas. Limestone Rock, with Philip Enright and Mouse Morris, had a big day a couple of weeks ago at Naas when he ran a cracking race behind On Eagles Wings and Captain Kangaroo. He is the biggest danger to El Barra.
GLENS OF ANTRIM will be hard to beat. She didn’t jump great at Leopardstown at Christmas, but has had a lot of schooling done since. Ideally, 2m would have suited her better, but there’s a lack of options with so much racing being called off. I still believe she will win though. Mr Incredible had a nice debut second, but Glens Of Antrim is jumping much better at home and she is definitely the one to beat.
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The form of PENCILFULLOFLEAD took a boost with Coko Beach winning the Thyestes and Colreevy winning in Cork. He looks a really strong, staying horse. Escaria Ten won at Thurles for Jack Kennedy, beating Ministerforsport in the process, and he looks a fair horse.
We haven’t seen Eklat De Rire since he won at Punchestown, besting School Boy Hours, but he jumped super that day for Rachel Blackmore. However, Pencilfulloflead’s form just looks a good bit stronger than the rest.
Cheltenham will be the aim for BILLAWAY and he was good at Down Royal. Staker Wallace of Enda Bolger – with Derek O’Connor riding on Sunday – won at Limerick at Christmas when he beat Super Citizen.
Willie also has Dragon D’Estruval, who was formerly with Nicky Henderson when he was trained in the UK. He’s had one run for Willie, in a point-to-point at Kinsale and ran a bit disappointingly but he’s definitely improved for that run.
He’ll have a chance too, but I thought Billaway was unlucky in last year’s Foxhunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival when he finished second to IT CAME TO PASS. It Came To Pass just jumped and travelled so much better than him. At the prices, It Came To Pass is definitely the value here. This is definitely a race worth keeping an eye on, but It Came To Pass is currently at an outstanding price to beat horses he’s already beaten.
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