The 13.35 is a competitive novice hurdle over 2m 6f with Willie Mullins due to run Monkfish and Vis Ta Loi.
Monkfish won his maiden hurdle over 2m 7f at Fairyhouse in mid-December from Time to Get Up and Gordon Elliott’s Braeside, who has subsequently won since, at the same venue. If there’s any horse in this race who can graduate to run in the 3m Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham in March – it could be Monkfish. I’ll be siding with him.
The feature race of the day is the Grade 2 Horse and Jockey Hotel Chase at 14.45. Despite there being just five runners declared – it’s a race of real quality.
Footpad faded in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, while Jetz also faded in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. Both are dropping down in trip from 3m to 2m 4f.
Real Steel and Voix du Reve stayed on well in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown when fourth and fifth respectively to Min, while Gordon Elliott’s Hardline was second in the same race, but fell on his next start in the race won by A Plus Tard at Leopardstown in December.
If I’ve to put my head on the block – I’ll go with Real Steel.
The Mares Novice chase at 15.20 is another cracking contest even though there’s only seven runners.
Willie Mullins has Elimay and Cut the Mustard, Gigginstown House Stud run Tintangle while Margaret Mullins has three-time runner-up Augusta Gold entered.
Elimay is unbeaten in her three starts last season and can pick up the winning thread on Sunday.
The last race on Sunday is the bumper at 16.20 and if it has all gone pear-shaped, we’ll be hoping that Power of Pause can get us all out of trouble.