This, of course, is undoubtedly Hurricane Fly’s favourite track and he is nine from nine here. But there is little or nothing between him and Jezki and it will be no great surprise should Jessica Harrington’s charge end his proud record.
Hurricane Fly showed typical fighting qualities to beat Jezki by half a length at Leopardstown at Christmas and, you’d imagine, the majority of pundits will expect those placings to be confirmed.
Willie Mullins’ veteran, however, has no scope for improvement and the four years younger Jezki to prove the stronger on this occasion is the hopeful prediction.
Just three are set to face the starter in the Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors’ Arkle Novice Chase, but they are high-class horses and this holds promise of a great contest.
Un de Sceaux’s only defeat in 11 races came when falling three out at Thurles, when he was obviously set to score by a street.
He only knows of one way to run, hard and fast from the start, and if Un de Sceaux can kick both Gilgamboa and Clarcam out of the way, as he has done with many others in the past, then the seven-year-old truly is the real deal.
Enda Bolger’s Gilgamboa, however, might get him in the closing stages. A brilliant jumper, with a great cruising speed, he has made a big impression in both his wins over fences.
Gordon Elliott’s No More Heroes, who beat Willie Mullins’ well-regarded Shaneshill by a length and three parts at Navan, can give his Cheltenham prospects a big boost by landing the Grade 2 Nathaniel Lacy And Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle.
At Navan today, Noel Meade’s Snow Falcon is the nap choice in the stamina-sapping two miles and seven Maiden Hurdle.
He is clearly no star, but still shapes as the most likely winner, having chased home Milsean at Navan and Identity Thief at Leopardstown.
Meade could also supply the answer to the Bumper with Killer Miller, absent since taking third behind two decent horses in Fine Article and Sub Lieutenant at Gowran Park in March.
Sandra Hughes can continue her decent run with Apache Jack, admittedly a bit disappointing first time over fences, in the Flower Hill Beginners Chase.
A useful staying hurdler, he was well beaten into third behind Jarry D’Honneur and Bishops Road at Punchestown two weeks ago, but is entitled to come on nicely for both the outing and the experience.