Sundays are made for nursing hangovers and pretending that the previous night’s antics in Coppers (or if you are Halifax-based, Atik) didn’t happen.
However, as perhaps the only man on the planet to have achieved that particular double, I have to concede that Sunday’s racing action is worthy of an early night, starting with the Grade 3 Stayers’ Novice Hurdle at Cork (13:10). A pair of Willie Mullins-trained mares dominate this on Timeform ratings, in the form of Pleasure Dome and Robin de Carlow.
The former sits 3lbs clear with some fairly useful hurdling form under her belt, but our preference is for Robin de Carlow, who was an emphatic winner of a listed contest over C&D last month and still looks open to more improvement yet.
That contest is followed 35 minutes later by the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase (13:45). Willie Mullins again holds all the aces with Great Field, who, like the veteran Special Tiara, are now proud members of the ‘we avoided Altior’ club, having swerved a match-up with that particular rival at Sandown a day earlier.
Great Field has struggled with injuries, making just the one start last season, but when we have seen him he’s shown borderline top-class form over fences, unbeaten so far in five starts and defeating Doctor Phoenix to take a Grade 2 contest at Navan in March.
Both Doctor Phoenix and Anibale Fly, who returns over a much shorter trip than when placed in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National last term, will be ready to pick up the pieces should Great Field underperform, but he should score provided he’s ready to go.
We head over to Punchestown and the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase (14:00) for our third fancy, where another member of the Altior Avoidance Society, Min, would appear to hold leading claims.
Like Wayne Rooney, Min’s been long heralded as the future, but more often than not has failed to deliver on the big stage.
This feels more like the MLS Cup than a Champions League final though, and it would be no surprise should Min be able to dominate this field from the front, with Ruby Walsh getting a surprisingly rare opportunity to ride him (not done so since December 2016).
Our final Sunday pick comes over in Blighty, in the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon (14:25), though there’s a certain theme emerging. God’s Own heads here having held an entry in the Tingle Creek earlier in the week, and he can prove that to be a wise decision.
He’s a really likeable sort, and while he regularly falls short at the top level, he does have two Grade 1 wins in his cabinet, and is formidable in the second tier. He showed the fire still burns bright when taking the Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter last month, and though that win means he has to shoulder a penalty here, conditions are to suit, and, most importantly, there’s no Altior in sight.
- Bet summary: Get on Robin de Carlow, Great Field, Min and God’s Own in Timeform’s Lucky 15 on PaddyPower.com