A competitive handicap hurdle to kick us off on Sunday over the minimum trip of two miles. Sir Ector and Sea Light are currently battling it out at the top of an open looking market.
The former is the mount of Ruby Walsh, and is a worthy market leader. He finished a good second behind Mind The Pennies last month, that was a good run, however he has been raised eight pounds for that performance which looks harsh. Davy Russel rode him that day and switches on to market rival and todays selection Sea Light.
Charles Byrnes horse was very progressive last year and finished fourth in the Boylesports Handicap Hurdle behind Gilgamboa, Quick Jack and Flaxen Flare. This in my opinion is the best form in the race with Gilgamboa now rated 140 over hurdles. Sea Light based on that should be better than current mark and can continue his progress here.
Black Spot On takes a step up in class but won very comfortably last time, he should go well again but off this new mark its a watching brief today.
Sea Light (WIN)
An interesting novice chase is our second port of call and its no suprise to see Alelchi Inois at the head of the market for Mullins and Walsh. I have my concerns with todays conditions, trip could be on the sharp side and the ground would be an unknown. He has been winning races over the summer without beating much picking up minor grade three events.
The competition today is clearly stronger, Mullins second string on jockey bookings fell when in touch last time out and that form looks strong with the third since winning. However this isn’t the first time, in fact has only completed 50% of his chase starts and this has to be a concern.
Azorian looks like he is coming back to some form with a much improved third behind The Tullow Tank and needs to be watched in the betting.
Chancol looked a chaser last year and duly won on chase debut, form isn’t anything to brag about and the selection Sizing Granite may get the best of him. The Potts horse is just one of a number of smart prospects for connections this year. Henry De Bromheads yard have been in super form this season. Sizing Granite has won on soft ground and claimed the scalp of the more fancied Lieutenant Colonel. He is unexposed and should improve for his first run and should go close.
Sizing Granite (WIN)
The final selection comes from Cork in the south of Ireland. A tricky looking handicap hurdle with conditions set to be extremely testing. Inis Meain looks likely to go off favourite, he is a solid dual purpose horse but is entirely exposed and high in the weights. His last winning mark was 124 and runs off 129 here.
The selection is a JP McManus unexposed horse in Roll It Out, a winner first time out over timber, he hasn’t shown much since in handicaps without running badly. He could be on a lenient mark with Luke Demise claiming a valuable five pounds. Gordon Elliot gave him a nice pipe opener in a similar race last time. Roll It Out is taken to run well at around the 8/1 mark and a place at least is not out of the question.
Battling Boru won nicely last time out but would have to defy a career high mark to get involved here. Bentelimar retained his unbeaten record in bizarre fashion when Robbie Power weighed in light on Shield to be disqualified, he makes his seasonal reappearance, looks vulnerable off a high mark.
Roll It Out (E/W)