Both Ballyward and C’est Jersey will like the trip here, and have schooled well at home.
They seem to be in good order, and right-handed definitely suits C’est Jersey. Ballyward as a novice probably achieved more over hurdles than C’est Jersey, so perhaps that’s why Paul Townend has gone for him – had I had the choice, I may have made the same decision.
I think Ballyward is the better horse.
Shady Operator would look to be the danger, on paper at least.
I don’t know much about Darasso, but De Plotting Shed ran better over hurdles in his last start than he has when running over fences. The Willie Mullins stable will be hoping we hold all the aces in this one, with Bachasson, Scarpeta and Killultagh Vic.
Bachasson getting the 8lbs was the reason I chose that one here. You could make a strong case for riding any of them – Scarpeta has the fitness edge, but his jumping needs to be a bit slicker, while Kìllultagh Vic has the class but hasn’t run since Auteuil in May – he didn’t have a great end to the year.
It’s a tidy race, and it’s very competitive. Bachasson might just be the fastest of Willie’s three.
Fenta Des Obeaux is a filly by Denham Red, the same sire as Un De Sceaux. She won a bumper in April in France.
She’s a bit keen, she likes to get on with things but we think she goes well enough and hopefully she’ll give a good account of herself. Punchestown suits horses like her who like to get on with the job.