MARSH NOVICES’ CHASE
Faugheen may be a twelve-year-old horse now but this gallant warrior is still only lightly raced and was only campaigned over fences for the first time this season. He has taken to them with the style and aplomb that he gave to his hurdles a couple of years ago and Willie Mullins has given him a new lease of life in this sphere.
Undefeated in three outings so far this season, he saw off re-opposing stablemates in Easy Game and Tornado Flyer when last seen out at the Dublin Racing Festival last month. Prior to that effort he turned over the better fancied Samcro over this trip by no fewer than ten lengths at Limerick.
Bookies have taken a high number of bets for Faugheen already & he is clearly in good heart or connections would not be risking him here. In what is likely to be his swan song he can bring the house down with another scintillating effort.
PERTEMPS NETWORK FINAL HANDICAP HORSE RACE
Relegate returns to the scene of the biggest ever win landing the champion bumper here a couple of seasons ago. The seven-year-old mare has left the yard of Willie Mullins since but made an eye-catching debut for Colm Murphy in a qualifying race for this at Punchestown racecourse a few weeks ago.
She is fully entitled to improve for that run. In the race she was held up at the back of the field and steadily progressed the further it went on. She was doing all of her best work in the closing stages and two of the three rivals that finished in front of her that day were receiving weight from her so the performance can be marked up.
Paul Townend takes over in the saddle this afternoon in what is an encouraging jockey booking. Genuine soft ground is not a bother on her and she is set to receive weight from market rivals such as The Storyteller and Sire Du Berlais. The Irish have won the last four renewals of this particular race and they come here mob handed yet again.
Provided she can be kept out of harms way, Relegate can propel her trainer back into the limelight. This is clearly been the plan for her all along and she looks destined to go well.
A Plus Tard is still only a six-year-old but he put Chancun Pour Soi firmly in his place when they met at Leopardstown just after Christmas. The runner-up has come out to boost the form subsequently by dancing home in a Grade One at the same track. A line through that form gives him the beating of Min who lines up in opposition here.
A Plus Tard ran riot in the listed handicap chase at this meeting last year when thumping Tower Bridge by no fewer than sixteen lengths. Henry De Bromhead has his stable in excellent form and with Rachael Blackmore set to continue her association with the Cheveley Park runner, he has to be the one to beat here.
Most of their rivals have taken the time to find their true form this year including Frodon who won this last year. With Bryony Frost back in the saddle the pair have to be feared now that they return to defender their crown.
Ridersonthestorm was flattered by the fourteen lengths he won by at Ascot last time as the unfortunate Traffic Fluide came down when seeming to have his measure. He has endured a few tough races already this season and this may be one step too far. A Plus Tard looks to be a star in the making and is the selection here with good odds of winning.
PADDY POWER STAYERS HURDLE RACE
Best bets would be on this horse Paisley Park he has done nothing wrong all year and has met all the objectives laid out before him thus far. Wins at Newbury racecourse in the Long Walk Hurdle and then at Cheltenham in the Cleeve Hurdle means he comes here as a solid favourite in the betting and he will prove a force to be reckoned with once again.
Summerville Boy and Emitom look likeliest to run him close according to the betting odds but what they have achieved in comparison to the reigning champion pales into insignificance. Paisley Park is a dominance there who can assert his authority in a field which lacks any real talent over this three-mile discipline. This multiple course and distance winner has plenty of racing experience on his side to call upon and is a worthy betting favourite.
BROWN ADVISORY AND MERRIEBELLE STABLE PLATE HANDICAP CHASE
Happy Diva is a nine-year-old mare who seems to have been around for an eternity. She is remarkably consistent and despite the ground being like glue at Ascot when last sighted, she still plugged on to be fourth behind Domaine De L’Isle.
Any further drying out of the ground will certainly be in her favour and Richard Patrick who knows her so well, is able to take three pounds off her back. It is worth remembering that the combination of horse and jockey won a fiercely contested BetVictor Gold Cup over the course and distance back in November and this is likely to have been on the agenda ever since.
This race tends to suit those carrying relatively light weights, so Happy Diva can take advantage of the concessions she will draw from the likes of Simply The Betts, Siruh Du Lac and Old Grangewood. She has a lot of ticks in all of the right boxes and she looks sure to be competitive at a track she clearly handles.