1.55 Novice Chase, 3m Grade 1
Gigginstown turn up mob handed for this race, they have 5 of the 7 that are participating and all 5 cover the top of the market, which include big odds on fav Delta Work. The Festival Pertemps Handicap Hurdle winner who’s trained by Gordon Elliott whose won this race 2 times in the last 3 years, looks to be enjoying himself over fences and is already a Grade 1 Novice winner after winning the Drinmore LTO beating Le Richebourg who has since boosted his form when winning the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, that piece of form will leave him well fancied here and rightly so, the step up to 3 miles too will see an improvement but his last victories barring his maiden have all been by short distances, a nose, 3 quarters of a length and half a length, which suggests he always keeps back something to himself, so at his odds, I’d happily look elsewhere.
Joseph O’Brien has Mortal who impressed on his chasing debut when beating Moonshine Bay back in 4th by 15 lengths, Moonshine Bay was the one to take from the race and he did what was expected of him when winning well NTO over a more suitable trip, Moonshine Bay would have been a great bet IMO at 33/1, but he only ran a week ago, so will likely miss this.
Blow by Blow is another from the Elliott yard but was simply demolished by stablemate Delta Work LTO and can’t see any reason how he’ll reverse that form.
JUDGEMENT DAY has been improving in bundles since the switch to fences and looks the value of the race, he’s won his last 4 on the bounce, the last 2 over a not so suitable looking sharper trip, these 3 miles looks like we’ll see extra from him and the drying conditions will suit him more than his competitors.
2.30 Ryanair Hurdle, 2m Grade 1
Last years winning trainer Gordon Elliott has the clear fav to try and follow up in the shape of Samcro, he was an impressive runner up to Buveur D’Air in the Fighting Fifth, that form even thou BDA wasn’t at the top of his game has taken a little knock and the drying ground will be against, so it’s easy to look elsewhere.
Melon hasn’t been seen since falling in Punchestown’s Champion hurdle, although a class horse and still improving, he’s not easy to back with any confidence especially at his odds, he bumps into one too good a lot, plus with the ground drying ground out of his comfort zone and hasn’t raced yet this season, I’m happy to avoid.
Sharjah took full advantage of a weak showing from Faugheen when recording his first Grade 1 victory, no doubt he’s improved but he’s far from reliable and this will be much tougher.
Bedrock is another that’s not the most reliable, he’ll love the drying conditions and, on his day, could be competitive, he’s beaten Samcro already this season but with Samcro now race fit and 5lb better off, it’ll be very tough to do that again.
SUPASUNDAE would be the choice for me, he shaped very well on seasonally debut and was 2nd to a race fit Apple’s Jade over 2m4f’s. He’s always in need of a run, so will come on for that, not only does it look a good decision dropping back in trip avoiding a rematch with Apple’s Jade, but the 2 mile looks his best trip and has the strongest 2 mile form out of these for me.