The ten-year-old was very unlucky to be carried out after the second-last obstacle when still going well in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham last month. While unfortunate, it served notice of the rude health he is in, and he earns the nap selection to gain compensation today. It’s worth noting he was only fourth in this race last year, behind Jacks Island, but returns in better form. Assuming he’s none the worse for his Cheltenham experience, he should take a deal of beating.
The danger may come from Rivage D’Or, who won the Cheltenham race. He was far from disgraced back over regulation fences in the Irish Grand National last time, and should make his presence felt once more.
Fascinating to see two former Champion Hurdlers clash over three miles in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle, and Hurricane Fly can confirm recent Cheltenham form with old adversary Jezki.
The selection hasn’t been asked to race beyond 17 furlongs since beating subsequent World Hurdle winner Solwhit in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in late 2010. That was over two and a half miles, and today’s distance is a step into the unknown. However, this season the 11-year-old has shown he retains almost all his old ability, jumps tremendously, and can be expected to launch a telling late charge for victory this afternoon.
Jezki was disappointing in this season’s Champion Hurdle, but he, too, is a former Hatton’s Grace winner with questions to answer over this trip. However, his half-brother Jetson – who is in opposition today – stays this trip well, and he comes here off a victory over two and a half miles at Aintree.
It’s not a two-horse race, with Dedigout amongst those commanding respect, but the class of Hurricane Fly and Jezki should see them to the fore, with preference for the Mullins runner.
The Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase looks to be at the mercy of Arkle winner Un De Sceaux. The seven-year-old was tremendously impressive at Cheltenham, faces an easier task this time, and will take a great deal of catching if taking his customary position at the head of affairs.
Smashing will be popular in the market without the odds-on favourite, but should the ground the ground ride on the soft side of good, former Grade 1 winning hurdler Melodic Rendezvous could be the one to give Un De Sceaux most to think about.
Ned Buntline has leading claims in the Three.ie Handicap Chase. Noel Meade’s horse was travelling ominously before falling at the fourth last in the Red Rum Chase at Aintree and, if none the worse for that mishap, should go very close in what is a competitive race. Enjoy Responsibly finished fifth in the Aintree race and again carries a very light weight. He’s yet to add to his debut success over fences but looks sure to run a good race.
The Kildare Post INH Flat Race looks a tremendous bumper and Yorkhill can build on the immense promise of his debut success at Gowran Park. He had a Toomebridge point to point at his mercy until running out and unshipping his rider two out, but made amends at Tattersalls. At Gowran he readily accounted for the promising Pause And Ponder, and should be better for that experience.