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EL BARRA has been plenty disappointing. He was second on his last start (which was an improvement), but he was very bad at Leopardstown around Christmas and followed that up with a fourth-placed finish behind Limestone Rock at Naas. His second at Navan behind Coqolino shows he’s going in the right direction though and hopefully Sunday will be his day.
Thedevilscoachman has a rating of 142, but Master McShee is at 143. Master McShee was a bit disappointing at the Dublin Racing Festival, but prior to that he had been rock solid. 2m will really suit ECHOES IN RAIN though, and it was a really slowly-run race that Thedevilscoachman won his last start.
It’s a competitive race with Grand Barnard and M C Muldoon in there, while Razzle Dazzle Love will make sure it goes at a really good gallop. Colonel Mustard is still a maiden for Lorna Fowler and hasn’t run since being behind Frere Tuck at Punchestown. He would have to have a chance too, having chased home Ballyadam at Down Royal. But, I’m going for Echoes And Rain to claim this one.
Roseys Hollow is bidding to bounce back from Cheltenham, as are Gauloise, Glens Of Antrim, Skyace and Hook Up. They are all coming out pretty quickly after the festival and I quite like ATLANTIC FAIRY. I thought she was really good at Navan on her last start.
The trip of 2-and-a-half miles will suit her, and she beat Global Equity over 2m 5f despite doing everything wrong in my eyes, after she pulled away too hard and she was very keen. Royal Illusion could be the one to give her the most to do.
This race is about GENTLEMANSGAME. He was really good when he won his maiden and then turned up at Leopardstown to be was second to Gaillard Du Mesnil. That race left its effect on the horses at Cheltenham, but a fortnight on will have given Gentlemansgame time to get over it. He’s the one to beat here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Frere Tuck outran his odds.
I wouldn’t fancy being Paul Townend trying to pick between Egality Mans, Frere Tuck, Power Of Pause and Rambranltjac. It’s a hard one because Power Of Pause will definitely like the good ground, while I believe Rambranltjac is a better horse on the track than we think he is at home. Free Tuck is the dark one, but it’s all about Gentlemansgame in this one.
Yukon Lil returns quick here having won over hurdles at Limerick last Sunday, while Willie Mullins has two other runners – Harrie and Andalusa. Andalusa will love the ground and the trip should really suit her, but she could be open to something a little bit better handicapped.
ARAMAX would probably be the one for me, with Keith Donoghue on board for Denise Foster. He won his beginners’ chase here then disappointed at the Dublin Racing Festival, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was bags of improvement in him.
With no Latest Exhibition or Energumene, there are nine horses here with a good opportunity for a Grade 1, but it’s difficult to know which one to pick! Asterion Forlonge didn’t dent his reputation at Cheltenham as I thought he ran a really good race behind Chantry House. You’d definitely think going right-handed will suit him.
Andy Dufresne kept at it well at Leopardstown, while Conflated won well on his last start and there is no reason to believe he couldn’t come and win here, although he was well held by Monkfish at the Dublin Racing Festival. Having said that, while being held by Monkfish he was just in front of Asterion Forlonge.
Cedarwood Road is improving, and I thought Janidil was travelling really well when he fell at the Dublin Racing Festival, so he’s definitely a dark horse. But, if I was sticking my neck out, I would go for FRANCO DE PORT as an each-way prospect. He got badly outpaced in the Arkle Case, but didn’t have a hard race. Stepping up in trip will suit him and he’s already a Grade 1 winner.
DARK RAVEN beat Silas Marner by 7-and-half lengths at Leopardstown on his debut. Silas Marner was probably a little disappointing at Limerick last week, but was third to Belle Metal and probably ran a strong enough race. Therefore Dark Raven, if he has improved at all, would be hard to beat here.
Dark Raven is probably the best chance for Willie Mullins on Sunday. Outside of him, there are plenty of chances – including El Barra – but he’s not one you would stick your neck out for. There could be a hatful of winners and place horses here, so it will be interesting.
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