David Ord picks out three considerations for the day's racing incuding a Willie Mullins head-scratcher in the opener at Punchestown.
Westie back to happy hunting ground
Lawney Hill was good value – as ever – on Luck On Sunday and could be facing the TV cameras again 24 hours later.
She saddles Clondaw Westie in the Racing Welfare 24 Hour Helpline 08006300443 Handicap Chase at Fontwell and despite top weight, he should take the world of beating.
He won two handicap chases here in the spring and was entitled to need his reappearance run at Sandown – which is very much how he ran.
Cheery ripe now and back at his favourite hunting ground, he looks to have Native Robin to beat.
Junior can shine again
1.30 Ffos Las
Jonjo O’Neill Junior’s stock is on the rise and the talented conditional looks to have another good opportunity to shine aboard Get Wishing in the opening Tim Vaughan Racing Supporting Ffos Las Handicap Hurdle at the Welsh track.
Fresh from landing Saturday’s Unibet Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, the conditional rider heads across the Seven Bridge to take up the ride for Victor Dartnall.
Get Wishing is talented and has the ability to win this but raced lazily for Harry Stock a Exeter last time and connections reach for cheek-pieces – and a hot jockey.
Cleary O’Neill has huge boots to fill as he carves out his career in the saddle but the old man has taught him a trick or two and he might just be the man to get the right tune out of this partner.
Three-two-one for Mullins
Willie Mullins looks likely to book-end Monday’s Punchestown card.
Fasola Tido runs in the closing Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Flat Race and a mere reproduction of her debut second at Fairyhouse in December should suffice.
But there’s likely to be more to come – indeed a lot more – from the five-year-old who impressed with how she went through her race last month and hails from the family of Morley Street and Granville Again.
However, the Closutton maestro has made things more complicated in the opening Introducing Racing TV Maiden Hurdle by running three. And all are interesting.
In no particular order…Mark Walsh is aboard the JP McManus-owned Farid who was an expensive recruit after winning a bumper in France. He was eventually a well-beaten third on his first start for the new team at Fairyhouse but was too keen through the race there and will have learned from the experience.
Andalusa is another French import who left the form of a hurdling debut in her homeland behind when fourth behind Sir Erec in a warm heat at Leopardstown over Christmas. She was ultimately well beaten but was another who was a little gassy and was hampered at the last, costing her valuable momentum.
There’s more to come form her.
The choice of Ruby Walsh, presuming he had one, is Fenta Des Obeaux…and guess what, she’s an import from across the channel too.
A bumper winner before switching to Mullins, she was strong in the market ahead of a debut here on New Year’s Eve but knuckled on landing and fell at the first. A hood is applied and the presence of Walsh in the saddle suggests connections have lost no faith in her.
As the saying goes, you pays your money, you takes your choice.