All About Joe hasn’t been unduly punished in any of his three career starts, but showed much-improved form when second at Thurles last time, no match for the winner on that occasion but still pulling well clear of the remainder. He is open to further progress and should be up to winning a race like this by now.
A useful winner in bumpers, The Very Man has taken reasonably well to hurdling and didn’t need to improve on the form he had already shown over obstacles when opening his account in this sphere earlier this month. The step-up in trip at Naas looked a smart move, and there is a suspicion that he has yet more to offer over this kind of distance, so he gets the vote to follow up.
Making his handicap hurdle debut, and also his debut for Gavin Cromwell, Severus Alexander showed much-improved form when fourth at Leopardstown earlier this month, staying on well after being forced to switch before two out. He remains with potential as a hurdler, and with this step up in trip expected to suit, he is taken to continue his progression and get off the mark for his new yard at the second time of asking.
Its All Guesswork has been lightly-campaigned since his fall in the Munster National back in 2018, running just once over fences and three times over hurdles. There is an air of unfinished business about him in this sphere however, and though he hasn’t been quite back to his best of late, he is still somewhat unexposed over fences, and is worthy of respect on the pick of his form. He hails from Gordon Elliott’s yard, as do five of the other 17 runners, and it is his stablemate Cheb de Kerviniou that appeals most of the remainder. It is hard to knock his efforts in defeat since joining Elliott form France, and he should continue to run well following his second at Punchestown last time.
The Trigger ran his best race for a good while when third at Musselburgh last month, proving he is not a lost cause, and he looks to be on an attractive mark if able to build on that effort. Ronan McNally’s charge isn’t the most consistent, but he is more than capable when on-song, and hopefully this will be one of those days. Golden Sunset and Da Baba Elephant are others to consider in a trappy affair.
Heydour recently made the switch from Mick Channon to John Costello, and he got off the mark at the first attempt for his new yard on his point debut at Cragmore last month. That alone does not make him hugely appealing, but his previous jumps exploits when under the stewardship of Channon read well in the context of this race, and he may just about take the beating. On The Sod has won all three of his starts in points and has to be respected on his first run under Rules.
Successful on his sole outing in points, Ballyadam arrived at Gordon Elliott’s yard with a tall reputation, and a price tag to match. He was backed as if defeat was out of the question on his Rules debut at Navan last month, but he was asked to make up plenty of ground under testing conditions and couldn’t reel in the front pair. A bid at the Champion Bumper was shelved after that defeat, but this should be a relatively straightforward task for him as he bids to get his career back on track.
*All odds correct at time of posting