14:10 Fairyhouse Sat 12 January 2019
Appears to be finding life difficult since winning a Grade 3 Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles a year ago, and suspicion the drop in trip is against him as much as anything else in this contest.
Consistent in beginners' contests this winter before readily landing a handicap over similar trip here early last month. Gone up 10lb for that success but wouldn't like to rule out further progress and chance is there to be seen.
Fortunate second behind Saint Calvados in Naas Grade 3 over 2m on reappearance in November, not really built on that in two further starts and remains opposable here.
Without a win since a Grade 3 Punchestown success more two years ago, mark is sliding but well enough beaten in two runs at Cork this term to suggest he'll find a couple too strong here again.
Much better effort at Leopardstown (3m½f, good to yielding) in Paddy Power Chase over Christmas. Could go well here from same mark if jumping better, back down in distance.
Progressive, has won four times over fences since August and left impression he was still improving when falling two out in Grade 1 Drinmore (2m4f) here last month. Runner-up in Leopardstown handicap (2m1f) over Christmas, enters equation up 2lb.
Improved to win a Punchestown beginners chase in November 2017 before unseating when making a bad mistake early Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Not spotted since runner-up in four-runner Naas novice contest a year ago.
Lone win over fences a novice contest and subsequent starts in handicaps left the impression he was too high, including Christmas defeat at Leopardstown over this trip from current mark.
Won chase bow (Duca De Thaix second) before being outclassed by smart Voix Du Reve in Grade 2 at Punchestown in November. Never-nearer second latest upped to 2m4f at same track. Early days and looks a contender with more to come and trip to suit.
Plenty of miles on the clock for the gelding who is six from 45 over the larger obstacles. Game sort ran well in second at Limerick's Christmas meeting (2m3½f, soft to heavy) but 6lb 'wrong' on these terms.
Last Year's Winner
|T: G ElliottJ: D N Russell|
Duca De Thaix (3/1), Blazer (7/2), Kildorrery (9/2), Cubomania (7/1), Three Stars (8/1), Bel Ami De Sivola (10/1), Avenir D'une Vie (12/1), Tycoon Prince (16/1), Kylecrue (25/1), A Toi Phil (25/1)
- Duca De Thaix
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