Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old hasn’t run over the smaller obstacles for almost three years, but had decent form, including when winning his maiden over today’s course and distance.
In four runs this season, he has failed to hit the mark, but finished runner-up to Ryanair Chase-bound Smashing and the useful Lord Scoundrel on his last two starts.
If he can translate that level of performance back over hurdles, he’ll be very hard to beat.
Former stable companion Val De Ferbet, who is having his first run for trainer Andrew McNamara, was the best of these over hurdles, but is entitled to need this run — his first for nine months.
Stowaway Shark can take the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle for Shark Hanlon.
The seven-year-old won a point-to-point in late 2013 and made a promising bumper debut in early 2014, but was off for more than a year and a half until making his comeback in December.
He has had three runs since his return, all over hurdles, and there was increasing promise with each experience.
Last time, he finished fourth of nine behind smart prospect Jett, and that line of form stands out in the context of today’s race.
He can be expected to take another step forward, and is preferred to Gran Cavallo, who ran well behind Oscar Lantern on his track debut, but was a touch below that form next time.
Captainofthefleet could represent some value in the three-mile handicap hurdle.
Eamonn O’Connell’s nine-year-old struggled to find his form on his first two runs of the season, but there was more promise in his latest effort, just eight days ago, when he finished eight behind Total Recall in a hot handicap at Naas.
That was over two miles, and the return to three miles will suit the course and distance winner.
While Dallas Cowboy is likely to prove popular in the betting, Captainofthefleet will be a much bigger price, and is preferred on those grounds.