His controversial performance at Tipperary 11 days ago could hardly have grabbed any more headlines, but it is now time to draw a line in the sand as far as that is concerned.
The gently handled and progressive six-year-old was beaten a short head by Captain Cee Bee and re-opposes on much better terms.
Taking Patrick Mangan’s claim into account, The Real Article is no less than 28lbs better in with his rival and you really have to fancy him to reverse those placings.
The handicapper says The Real Article is a whopping 18lbs well in and if he is only half right then it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Edward O’Grady’s charge may well have a lot in hand.
The downside is his relative lack of experience and the fact that this will be his first venture into handicap company.
Captain Cee Bee is a class act, but there is no denying that the evidence points to him having a mountain to climb.
Fosters Cross produced a terrific front-running effort to win on the flat here on Monday night and, if allowed his own way at the head of affairs again, could complete a famous double.
Last year’s third Dirar has an obvious life, as has Dermot Weld’s Hidden Universe, who has clearly had this in mind since finishing second at the Punchestown festival.
In the final analysis this amounts to a test of the skills of handicapper, Noel O’Brien, who has nailed his colours to the mast in no uncertain manner. I want to be with him.
The nap vote falls on Tom Mullins’ Tavern Times in the Arthur Guinness Fund Novice Hurdle.
His narrow defeat of Worldly Wise at Gowran Park and equally narrow failure to Sulwaan at Sligo were ordinary efforts.
But, to my eyes, he has been crying out for two and a half miles, as against two, and that theory will be fully tested now.
Alpine Eagle, the presence of Tony McCoy in the plate is hardly a minus, has taken well to fences and is fancied to complete a hat-trick in the Guinness Summer Series Novice Chase.