The dual point winner Breakeven has made a bright start under rules, winning a Tipperary bumper in August, before bagging third spot in a messy race at Galway. He has a touch of class and should go close.
Gigginstown had numerous options to choose from and have come down on the side of the newcomer Fissa, and Henry de Bromhead’s charge is feared, but a chance is taken on CROSSHILL. The later was a reasonable ninth in a red-hot bumper on debut (seven of first eight home all subsequent winners, incl Ferny Hollow), and won’t be short of work for today’s test.
With rock solid form over hurdles DIME A DOZEN should be a big player here. She was rated 116 when winning well on her recent visit to Gowran Park and looks well capable of another big run here off her revised mark, a rating which entitles her to have plenty to say. If the ground deteriorates though, enthusiasm levels would not be so high. Rhythm Divine, Fully Charged and Arcadian Sunrise can also be expected to take high rank.
A very competitive rated novice hurdle in which none of the seven runners can be ruled out. CASK MATE didn’t beat that much at Limerick but did so in some style, and on the back of a near three-year absence, and gets the vote to make the step up required here. At the weights, Western Run and Tullybeg could prove the biggest dangers.
The subject of much chat this season after a stellar recent campaign, DREAL DEAL is near impossible to oppose. He is 22lb higher now than when winning at Navan (two facile flat wins in the interim), but he was in a different league to the opposition that day and can go in again. Brilliantly handled, his rider here has won on two of her last four starts, and can get the ball rolling again courtesy of this hugely progressive gelding. Magic Sea, Millen To One and Walking On Glass look pick of the remainder.
Conor O’Dwyer has his team in fine form and SUNRISE LADY (NAP), impressive here a fortnight ago, could well dominate again here despite a 9lb rise. Back to his best trip, Bitview Colin could be the one to follow the selection home.
A cracking beginners’ chase in prospect. LATEST EXHIBITION was the best of these over hurdles and, being out of a useful chaser, there seems no reason why he can’t be at least as good a chaser. He had Longhouse Poet back in third when landing a Grade One novice at Leopardstown though that rival warrants plenty of respect on his chase bow.
Run Wild Fred was a bit disappointing on his recent chasing debut but is expected to come on for the run, while School Boy Hours has some solid chase form in the bag, though he will need to jump better than when last seen at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day.
A likely clash between the big guns here. Gordon Elliott sets a puzzle by running two but point-to-point runner-up MAGIC TRICKS, a brother to the high-class Abracadabras, received a favourable report in a recent Racing Post Stable Tour and could prove the pick over Jamie Codd’s mount Joseph Conrad.
Willie Mullins introduces a nicely-bred sort in Cavallino and market support for him would clearly be significant. Outside of these, Noel Meade’s The Big Story, the Tom Mullins-trained point-to-point winner Tucson Train, and Silk Hat are others to consider.
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