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Gordon Elliott’s novice Party Central won by only a head at Punchestown in December from stablemate Humble Glory, but she was value for extra in that listed contest for mares having taken up the lead a fair way from home. With the way she travelled pointing to further progress now handicapping, she looks to have excellent claims of following up from a potentially lenient opening mark.
Galopin Des Champs looked a class act when sauntering to success on his chasing debut over this course and distance in December where he ran to a very high rating for one making his first start over fences. Another display of slick jumping should see him make it two from two over fences in this Grade 1 contest before a tilt at a similar event at Cheltenham where he won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle last season.
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Chacun Pour Soi is bidding for a hat-trick of wins in the Dublin Chase and is fancied to bounce back to form here. He simply wasn’t himself when coming home last in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on his latest outing and he missed a run at Leopardstown when lame over Christmas, but he has a fair bit in hand on his best form and can put the record straight in a rematch with the Tingle Creek winner Greaneteen.
Plenty are in with a shout in this handicap chase where Grand National winner Minella Times, runner-up last year, heads the weights. Progressive novice Fakir d’Alene impressed with both his jumping and attitude when scoring on his handicap bow at Thurles last month so is fancied to complete his hat-trick at the chief expense of Rebel Gold who also arrives on the up.
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Champion Hurdler Honeysuckle extended her unbeaten run to 13 with an impressive third success in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse last time and Henry de Bromhead’s star mare is a confident choice to complete a hat-trick of wins in this event too.
Willie Mullins has four runners in this, notably last year’s Champion Bumper winner Sir Gerhard who made a perfect start to his hurdling career when readily making all in a maiden over course and distance on Boxing Day. That form has worked out and he obviously has a good deal of scope to do better, so he gets the nod to take the step up in class in what looks the most competitive Grade 1 of the four on the card.
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A huge field and a typically competitive renewal of one of the more valuable handicap hurdles run in Britain and Ireland, with the vote going to Arthur Moore’s lightly-raced Sea Ducor. He shaped as if needing the run when mid-division in a similar event on his return here six weeks ago and is potentially on a favourable mark.
Mullins is mob-handed in this Grade 2 mares’ bumper that’s packed full of potential, with the vote going to Patrick Mullins’ mount Pink In The Park. She could hardly have been more impressive when bolting up on her debut under the same rider when odds on at Listowel back in September and she can take the rise in class in her stride.
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