The selection showed fair form in a couple of starts in bumpers, opening his account in that sphere at Carlisle in November, and he shaped encouragingly on his hurdling debut when second at Tramore earlier this month. That experience won’t be lost on him and he is expected to progress past the standard-setter Behind The Curtain.
This looks a cracking novice hurdle with some exciting prospects on show, though none more so than the Gordon Elliott-trained FESTIVAL D’EX. He looked something out of the ordinary when making a winning debut in the Goffs Land Rover bumper at Punchestown last season, and made an equally impressive winning debut over hurdles at Navan last month. He was again given a very confident ride on that occasion, and he should be well suited by this significantly longer trip.
A very competitive handicap hurdle with plenty in with a chance, but it is TEXARD that makes the most appeal. He put it all together to get off the mark in decisive style at Cork last time, showing improved form to do so. The handicapper hasn’t been overly harsh with his opening mark and, now that he has got his head in front, he could be one to go on progressing for a while yet.
Willie Mullins holds the key to this Grade 2 and everything appears to be in the favour of FOOTPAD, who receives weight all round from his four rivals. He was an outstanding novice chaser in 2017/18, and made a good return to action when winning a listed event at this course in November. He seemingly didn’t stay the three miles when running adequately in the King George last time, and he could prove a class apart if on his ‘A’ game.
Another race which revolves around Willie Mullins and ELIMAY, who comfortably accounted for the reopposing Agusta Gold when making a successful start to her chase career in Grade 3 company at Cork last month, is likely to take plenty of stopping again despite her 3 lb penalty.
This horse bounced back to form when winning a handicap hurdle at Tramore on just her second start for Henry de Bromhead in December. Admittedly, she was well below form following a rise in the weights at Limerick over Christmas, but she may bounce back to form returned to fences and is worth chancing in an open heat.
POWER OF PAUSE cost plenty having impressed when making a winning debut in points and, having joined a top yard, he’s an obvious choice to make a winning start. Fellow ex-pointer Mr Lingo is expected to improve on his Rules debut, so he’s regarded as the main threat ahead of Western Run.
- 13:00 – ARCADIAN SUNRISE
- 13:35 – FESTIVAL D’EX
- 14:10 – TEXARD
- 14:45 – FOOTPAD
- 15:20 – ELIMAY
- 15:50 – UNE LAVANDIERE
- 16:20 – POWER OF PAUSE