Walsh set for super Sunday
Man On The Spot previews Sunday's card at Leopardstown featuring the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle.
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12:25 : Frank Conroy Memorial Maiden Hurdle
A huge field here but URANO will be at short odds and should land the spoils on a big day for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh. Unbeaten in three bumpers in France, he was caught close home on his hurdling debut at Thurles before coming up against the useful Ned Buntline here last month and will be very unfortunate to catch one as good this time. Smithfield hasn't been beaten far in all starts over hurdles and is a very good yardstick but he's now exposed and Some Article, a bumper winner at Punchestown, may pose more of a threat after a very promising hurdles debut at Navan. Angelas Money showed potential in testing ground at Punchestown and may do best of the remainder.
12:55 : Frank Ward Solicitors Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle (Listed)
In her last three runs over hurdles, ZUZKA has won twice at Grade 3 level and finished close up behind the outstanding Jezki in the Grade 1 Royal Bond at Fairyhouse. Although penalised, she looks the one to be on here. Her stablemate Glens Melody was over 6l behind her here last month and would be better suited by a longer trip while Jennies Jewel will need to show improvement after her narrow victory over Upazo at Naas. Oscars Joy may prove best of the remainder after she battled on to score at Fairyhouse.
13:25 : Synergy Security Solutions Novice Hurdle (Grade 2)
Seefood won a bumper and two minor races over timber before a fine run over this trip in a Navan Grade 2. He was still in touch though under pressure when unseating his rider in a Grade 1 on the same track last month in which PONT ALEXANDRE announced his presence on the big stage. Very highly regarded by Willie Mullins, he's well to the fore in the betting for two races at Cheltenham and will probably contract even further after today. Sizing Gold was 3l behind Seefood at Fairyhouse in November though has definitely improved but Our Vinnie has penalties to carry for two hard-fought Grade 3 victories and will do well to concede weight to the selection.
13:55 : BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)
HURRICANE FLY has won this for the past two years and a hat-trick beckons. Willie Mullins' stable star has looked back to his imperious best in his two starts this season and his ante-post price of 7/2 to regain his Champion Hurdle crown is likely to shrink after this. Another former champion, Binocular, wouldn't be competing here unless Nicky Henderson thought he could come away with the prize and he wasn't far behind the selection in the big one at Cheltenham last year. He hasn't been seen on a racecourse since and has been beaten in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle for the last two seasons on his reappearance. Thousand Stars generally plays second fiddle to his illustrious stablemate and is better over further while Captain Cee Bee was a long way behind the selection last time and One Cool Shabra is out of his depth.
14:30 : Tote Price Promise Handicap Hurdle (81-123)
Surprisingly, Talbot Road is the only one of the 27 entries to have won over the track and trip but his maiden success last month suggests he faces a very stiff task here. St Devote was a very promising chaser when last seen in 2011 and is likely to need this and Crocus Bay is looking a bit high in the weights on what he's achieved to date. Ruby Walsh has yet another strong ride, this time on board Tony Martin's Living Next Door, though the form of his mount's victory at Limerick has taken a knock. Shariyan was well supported on his return to action here on St Stephen's Day and ran out a convincing winner. He's been raised 10lb which seems fair enough and the one to take from the race is SAMMY BLACK, who finished a close third on his handicap debut. He's only been raised 3lb for that and with the benefit of the experience can reverse form with the winner and take this.
15:05 : Donohoe Marquees (Pro/Am) Flat Race
Sizing Chile cost 85,000 euros as a three-year-old and is obviously one to keep an eye on from the champion trainer's yard. Emperor Of Exmoor did well to finish runner-up to Tangled Web here last month and will have come on for the run but Tony Martin won this last year and can repeat the process with BLACKMAIL. A winning point-to-pointer, he's looked in need of a stiffer test of stamina on both starts to date and hopefully Robbie McNamara will ensure a strong gallop. Benemeade, who is related to several winners, could prove best of the remainder.
15:35 : Leopardstown Beginners Chase
Rupert Lamb didn't jump all that well at Fairyhouse and was run out of it by Western Leader. Today's shorter trip should be to his advantage and he'll take some beating but PRIMA VISTA should have his measure. Noel Meade's charge, a Grade 2 winner over hurdles, has come up against several potentially useful chasers in his four starts over the bigger obstacles and gave supporters of Alderwood a fright at Navan a couple of weeks ago, form that would be good enough for this. Grade 3 hurdles winner My Murphy will be better for his chasing debut at Naas in November where he didn't jump with any fluency and The Real Article can improve from his two runs over fences. Toner D'Oudairies is another fomer useful hurdler making his way over the bigger obstacles and there's more to come from him.
16:10 : Sandyford Handicap Chase (0-123)
Pineu De Re had shown very little over fences before scoring at Thurles but isn't very big and carrying a big weight in a handicap looks against him. Wilde Wit Pleasure was making his handicap debut over fences when scoring at Cork and an 8lb rise shouldn't prevent another big effort but this looks a very good opportunity for HIGH DESERT to complete a hat-trick. Arthur Moore's charge won a novice hurdle in November and reverted to fences in very good style to slam his rivals at Tramore on New Year's Day. A mark of 116 looks very manageable and he should prove too strong for these. Winning point-to-pointer Edmundo hasn't had much experience over regulation fences but ran very well behind Best Of Bocelli at Thurles in November and is at the right end of the handicap.