With Kelso under threat from the weather and Chelmsford City hosting their first meeting since Great Leighs was closed. The safest option is to look too Ireland and three selections from the latter chases on the card.
We start off with the feature event of the card and the day, the Underwriting Exchange Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase over an extended two miles with a prize fund of €60,000 this Grade A Handicap has attracted a field of ten. Bright New Dawn heads the market and it is obvious why. Off the track since April before returning to run fourth in a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas. He will be a lot sharper for that and should take all the beating. Sandra Hughes charge is due to be rated eight pounds after that run and gets in here before that revised mark takes effect. By far the best novice hurdle/chaser out of this bunch he should take some stopping and is the selection.
Competitive Edge and Sraid Padraig are interesting contenders from connections who do well in these races. The former has the assistance of “The Champ” AP McCoy and has already seen money come in for him. He wears cheekpeices for the first time and has threatened to go close recently. Still much higher than his last winning mark. It’s hard to sustain a case for Conor O’Dwyer’s horse. The later (Sraid Padraig) is the current second favourite and still appears to be unexposed and improving. A mark of 140 may not be beyond him.
The remainders are all well and truly exposed and would need career bests to win this. Bright New Dawn should pick up another valuable prize for Cooper, Hughes and Gigginstown.
Bright New Dawn (WIN)
A Beginners chase is the next event over the same distance as the previous feature. Nine due to battle it out here and the favourite comes in the form of Willie Mullins Florishwells D’ete for jockey AP McCoy and owner JP McManus. He is very hard to fancy as since winning her first race at Gorwan she has struggled to make the first three on any of her next five starts. She was soundly beaten in a hot novice contest last time out and while this looks easier there is no reason to think she should be good enough to take this.
Kick On Boss is an interesting recruit to the chasing ranks and offered some decent bumper and maiden hurdle form. He has now switched from Willie McCreery yard to Henry De Bromheads and is worth a market check. However since been off the track the guts of a year he may just need this race.
Hurricane Ivan, Capital Pursuit, Shield, Toubaloo all look like handicapping will be their route while the selection Legal Exit could eventually make into a nice chaser. He was a decent prospect in bumpers and hurdles. Thought good enough to run in the Grade One Deloitte Hurdle against Champagne Fever. He is still very unexposed and the first two runs he has produced over fences have shown the possible potential. First up he finished sixth behind Gilgamboa and next up third behind Un De Sceaux. A reproduction of either of these runs along with natural progression should see him good enough to win.
Legal Exit (WIN)
The final race we will cover comes in the form of a novice chase over two and a half miles. Seven horses go to post in what looks a weak enough contest.
Champagne James is the market leader and should take a world of beating. He finished second behind Valseur Lido in Punchestown at the first attempt over fences, that horse has since gone on to win the Drinmore, and there was excuses that day with a spinal injury needing to be rectified. Next time up he finished a good third over an inadequate trip. Stepped back up to a more suitable trip should see his head in front.
The main and only danger is Dromnea who finished a half-length behind the selection at Punchestown and has since gone on to win over fences. He will have the experience advantage. However he should struggle to get so close to Champagne James this time round carrying a penalty.
Champagne James (WIN)