*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
This will be a real test for these young horses on the ground and Ballygrifincottage has solid claims having won three of his last four and being far from disgraced behind current Albert Bartlett Hurdle favourite Blazing Khal in a Grade Two at Cheltenham last month. He is the right favourite and if in the same form should see off the likes of Fameaftertheglory and High Stakes. The last named is very lightly raced for an eight-year-old and looks sure to benefit from this step up in trip after falling in the Challow at Newbury.
A slightly disappointing turnout for a race of this value with War Lord the short priced favourite based on his distant second to Edwardstone in the Henry VII Novices Chase at Sandown when he was readily left behind by the winner from the second last. These of course are calmer waters, but I just wonder whether he would prefer a better surface whereas the selection looks sure to relish the conditions. The Paul Nicholls’ charge was pulled up in that Esher contest, but was never going at any stage and is taken to fulfil the promise of his previous wide margin success at Newbury.
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This is surely last chance saloon for Goshen who bar his win in a weak Kingwell Hurdle last year has hardly lifted a leg since unseating Jamie Moore at the last flight when miles clear in the 2020 Triumph Hurdle. The ground will certainly hold no fears for him, a remark that also applies to the likes of Irish raider Darver Star (didn’t really take to fences) and Miranda. However, if he has recovered from his fall in the Relkeel, Olly Murphy’s charge will be hard to beat under Aidan Coleman and a clear cut victory here may persuade connections to run in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Henry De Bromhead’s mare has been the epitome of consistency in her career but just lacks a turn of foot at the business end of her races. There was no disgrace in finishing second to subsequent Relkeel Hurdle heroine Stormy Ireland in the Coolmore Kew Gardens Hurdle last year and since then she has been given a well deserved break. However, she has a fair record when fresh and this should prove a nice confidence booster for her against the likes of Jeremys Flame and the error prone but talented Robinnia.
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Despite being on the downgrade, Bristol de Mai takes a drop in class here and on his favoured deep ground should still make his presence felt. Still, I just feel that some tough races in the highest class may well be catching up on him. Two For Gold is an outsider to consider following a fluent win off 150 at Newcastle, but he needs another step forward again here so Olly Murphy is taken to double up with his entry. The eight-year-old also needs to improve again, but remains unexposed over this trip over fences, will have no problem with the ground and probably has most to fear from Dashel Drasher. The latter had a nice confidence booster over hurdles last time out at Newbury.
On John Durkan form there seems very little reason why last year’s Ryanair hero will not confirm form with Fakir D’oudaries (fourth beaten over eight lengths) and the only way those placings could possibly be reversed is if Joseph O’Brien’s charge changes tactics dramatically and may be takes on the likely odds on favourite from the start. Notebook was punched into submission by the relentless gallop of Energumene last time out and will be much more at home on this better surface, but is now looking exposed.
This is going to be a real slug fest in the holding deep ground and a number of these are no certainties to see the 3m5f out. That is certainly not the case with the selection who relishes a thorough slog and makes some appeal on his win in the Devon National in February off a mark of 123, races off 124 here. During day one of this meeting on Friday it seemed to pay to race prominently and the selection races mainly as a presser in his races. Of his rivals, Go Whatever won nicely at Plumpton in the Sussex national where he had Pemberley behind him while Éclair Mag is a danger to all granted a clear round.
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Sunday’s betting tips:
13:20 Lingfield – Ballygrifincottage
13:50 Lingfield – Il Ridoto
14:25 Lingfield – Brewinupastorm
14:40 Thurles – Minella Melody
15:00 Lingfield – Itchy Feet
15:15 Thurles – Allaho
15:35 Lingfield – Samuel Jackson
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
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