Most racing pundits and punters will rightly be focusing on the two Red Mills trial races at Gowran Park, but the class of a race has no bearing on the way I invest in this sport and by far the best bet on the card is Peace N’Milan in the 4.20.
When a mare finds her form and does so in emphatic style she is well worth following, and this Francis Flood charge absolutely scooted up over course and distance three weeks ago, simply galloping her rivals into the ground.
She possesses a hugely rounded action, associated with deep ground performers, and although a career best is needed to follow up off an 8lbs higher mark I suspect she will take care of the likes of the in-form Grainyhill and unexposed five-year-old Aa Bee See. Anything in the region of 3/1 is well worth grabbing.
With no Douvan in the field the feature Grade Two Red Mills Chase (2.00) looks wide open and the key to this event could be the specialist distance of two and a half miles.
Many will focus on Our Duke and on the official ratings, and indeed on my private figures the Irish National hero has a 10lbs cushion over his four rivals, but this is just the type of race in which he could be vulnerable.
His comeback run in the Irish Gold Cup contained a whole load of sloppy jumps and the second season chaser finally paid for his mistakes when he clouted the second last.
Many will point to the fact that a 16 length fourth to Edwulf would probably still be good enough to land this, but question marks still remain.
Novice Presenting Percy is on fire, both over fences and hurdles, and could bridge that class gap, while Valseur Lido (a further 12 lengths behind Our Duke) at Leopardstown is another obvious player.
However, the consistent A Toi Phil is the one I want to be on for a minor surprise. From a class point of view he clearly has something to find, but this is his optimum trip, on ground he loves and over a course and distance where he is one from one over.
The selection is likely to be at least only fourth favourite, but whereas most of his rivals have plenty to prove, this is his level and this is undoubtedly his set-up and he smacks of value.
The Red Mills Hurdle (3.10) is even more intriguing but Micks Jazz, a fortunate winner of the Ryanair Hurdle, could make the market for us.
His subsequent third in the Irish Champion Hurdle shows his consistency as he probably ran to exactly the same mark that afternoon, but giving 11lbs away to Identity Thief looks a tall order.
The eight-year-old has been more out than in since landing the Craddockstown Novice Chase 15 months ago and indeed was well behind Micks Jazz last at Leopardstown.
However, he was still in contention between the third and second last day before lack of fitness took its toll (first run for 10 months) and he is expected to bridge that gap here.
With former Pertemps Hurdle winner Mall Dini zero from nine over fences and Burgas still not looking at home over the larger obstacles, a chance is taken with Some Neck making a winning chasing debut in the opener at 1.25.
The son of Yeats has been off the track for over a year since his tailed off effort at Thurles over hurdles, but his work has reportedly been good and he has the size and scope to make up into an above average chaser.
Scoir Mear is given one final chance to shine off top weight in a race with no depth at 2.35, while the finale, a mares bumper at 4.55 may go the way of the nicely bred Court Maid for the all-powerful Mullins’ clan.