On a tricky card, the Milan mare, runner-up in her two starts, looks the banker bet, with the talented Jane Mangan claiming a valuable 7lb.
A home-bred daughter of the versatile Notcomplaining but, Elsie has been well-beaten in her two outings in Fairyhouse. But she has bumped into two of the best bumper horses around.
On her debut back in January, Tom Mullins’ charge finished 13 lengths clear of the third when beaten a similar distance by Champagne Fever, which went on to land the Grade 1 bumpers in both Cheltenham and Punchestown.
Off the track until Easter, Elsie beat everything except Gordon Elliott’s exciting prospect Don Cossack, again at Fairyhouse.
Admittedly beaten 17 lengths on that occasion, she had previous winners Gold Ability and Morning Royalty behind.
Meeting nothing of that calibre today, Elsie looks a standout bet, unless there’s a smart newcomer in the field.
In the likely absence of Realt Dubh, the Edward O’Grady-trained Catch Me will be fancied to register his first success since October 2009 in the M D O’Shea & Sons Hotel Hurdle.
Now a ten-year-old, Catch Me’s form, when at his peak, includes a defeat of Brave Inca in the 2008 Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse and, although, he has lost his way in recent seasons, there was nothing wrong with his excellent second to Cape Tribulation (won again in Aintree) in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham.
Pulled up in the Irish Grand National, won by Lion Na Bearnai, last time, Catch Me has been found a good opportunity to get back to the winner’s enclosure.
In the maiden hurdle action, Michael Hourigan’s Fine Presentation, runner-up to Prince Ludovic at Clonmel, might take advantage of the 8lb. he receives from Champagne Agent in the Keg Security Tralee Maiden Hurdle.
And Giant’s Quest, successful twice last summer, should prove tough to beat in the Laurels Bar Maiden Hurdle, if reproducing his Navan third to Protaras and subsequent winner Simon Gray.