His previous outing was in this race in 2015, when he finished third behind Ice Cool, which gave the form plenty of boosts on his way to a 22lb higher mark. The bounce factor shouldn’t be an issue for Like A Demon, and he can take this at the expense of Wee Tiger, who ran well over a longer trip last time, and has strong place claims once more.
Edwulf will be hard to beat in the opening race, a beginners’ chase. Joseph O’Brien’s horse ran reasonably well when third behind Min on his seasonal debut, and, last time out, would likely have finished second behind Thursday’s Grade 1 winner Our Duke, had he not unseated at the last in a beginners’ chase.
This is a considerably more manageable assignment for the seven-year-old, and he can make the most of it.
Tramore and Fairyhouse get 2017 underway with national hunt fare, and the nap comes at the Co. Meath venue, where C’est Jersey will take beating in the opening maiden hurdle. Backed as though defeat was out of the question on his first start for Willie Mullins, he made mistakes at crucial stages, and was readily outpointed late on by the exciting Any Second Now.
In the expectation that experience will stand to him, he should prove too smart for Gettysburg Address, whose jumping was ponderous on debut in a race won by the smart Baltazar D’Allier.
He will have to be considerably more fluent over the obstacles if he is to fulfil his potential. Fitzhenry was an eye-catcher last time, and has place claims if able to build on that.
Shannak can take the three-mile handicap hurdle for Tony Mullins. Although he has struggled somewhat to find his form in three runs this season, there was some encouragement from his most recent run, and that, allied to the fact his two wins to date have come at this track, at this time of year, suggests a big run is on the cards.
In Tramore, the application of blinkers can work the oracle for Brightest Flame, in the Ryan’s Racecourse Services Maiden Hurdle. Noel Meade’s horse looked a decent staying prospect when doing all his best work late on debut, but hasn’t built on that effort in two subsequent runs.
He will need much further than two miles and five furlongs in time, but a positive ride may be enough to see him home in front here. Thekingofrocknroll caught the eye last time, and the market should give a good guide to expectation.