The eight-year-old has form at this course, having caught the eye in finishing second behind stable companion Supreme Vic here last month. She then ran at the Galway festival and certainly wasn’t disgraced in a decent race, won by Lilly The Lioness.
The ground may have been too lively for her there, and she ran very well in the circumstances. The return to softer conditions, her ability to handle the track, and the featherweight she gets to carry indicate a big run from the eight-year-old. The longer trip shouldn’t be an issue and, with Johnny Burke booked to ride, she can secure a second career victory.
Georges Conn was a winner here last month, when racing on testing ground for the first time. He has top weight to carry, but would be foolish to underestimate, as would Crystal Earth, who looks well handicapped but might prefer quicker ground.
The EPS Handicap Hurdle, for four-year-olds, looks a very competitive contest, but Skilled gets the vote to continue his good run over hurdles.
One of three Gordon Elliott-trained runners in the field of six, he ran on strongly to win a maiden hurdle on soft ground at Wexford back in March, and followed up with a narrow success in Perth. After a short break he returned to finish second to Hidden Cyclone in a flat race at Leopardstown, but failed to fire at Galway last time.
Back over hurdles this evening, he has plenty of scope for improvement, and the conditions should suit. He is just preferred to Punch Bag, who has also looked a decent prospect in four outings over hurdles, three of which he has won.
All The Answers can take the bumper for Aidan O’Brien. The four-year-old made his debut in a novice hurdle won by Bachasson, at the recent Galway Festival, and wasn’t disgraced in finishing fifth. It’s interesting connections have decided to revert to a bumper and applied a hood for the first time on the well-bred gelding.
By Kayf Tara out of the very smart Shatabdi, he’s certain to show improvement for his recent experience, and looks sure to run a big race.
The danger may come from John Monash, who was the subject of significant support on both outings. Beaten at odds on each time, he’s clearly thought capable of better, and needs another market check.