16:55 Galway Thu 1 August 2019
In the form of his life, and brought up a hat-trick at Ballinrobe last time when making all. Merits respect, although a 10lb rise for that win in lesser company clearly demands more.
Not seen since finishing third in the Triumph Hurdle last year, and the form of that race has taken a few knocks in the interim. That said, he remains totally unexposed, and has presumably had this race as a target for some time.
Best effort over hurdles when fourth in a competitive 2½m handicap at the Punchestown Festival in May, but has run below his best in the Northumberland Plate on the Flat since. Claims on form, but drop to 2m could find this stayer out.
In good form on the Flat, finishing a close third in a 2m handicap at the Curragh in June. A place behind Stratum at Punchestown on latest hurdles start, and now 3lb better off for a 2½L beating.
Smart form as a novice last season, winning a Grade 2 at Naas in February. Went close in a Leopardstown making Flat debut last month, and less exposed than all his rival on handicap debut.
Improved all season before readily landing a valuable Grade 3 contest at the Cheltenham Festival. Back to his best when a neck second of 5 to Thomas Hobson in Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary, and looks to hold strong claims assuming his jumping holds up.
Has struggled in Graded company of late, and while he ran respectably when fourth in the Grimes Hurdle last time, he looks held by Band of Outlaws, who beat him over 5L, and is 1lb better off.
Winner of the valuable 1m handicap at this meeting for the past two years. Yet to hit the heights expected of him over hurdles, but a fast -run race over a bare 2m is ideal, and he's one to take very seriously.
Ran creditably over 1¼m on the Flat last time, and not badly treated on his best hurdles form, splitting Star Maker and Ejayteekay (winner since) at Killarney on his latest start. Just 3lb higher now, and not taken lightly.
Essentially progressive in the past year or so, winning three handicaps between May and November. As good as ever when third of 16 to Ivanovich Gorbatov at Fairyhouse last time, and type to outrun his odds with conditions ideal.
Won off 6lb lower at Punchestown in April, and posted a creditable effort when fourth of 15 to Ming Dynasty in 2m handicap at Bellewstown last time. May have reached her limit now, unless blinkers can eke out a bit more.
Third in the Triumph Hurdle in March, and impressed when winning at Punchestown on latest hurdles outing. Ran well enough when third on the Flat at Killarney last month, and blinkers replace usual cheekpieces now.
Won off 9lb lower at Down Royal in November, and possibly needed the run when down the field at Punchestown in May. Has won at this meeting before, but others appear more progressive currently.
Produced a career-best effort when winning at Listowel in June (hood retained now), but overall record is less than bombproof, and the handicapper has been harsh in raising him 9lb for that success.
Ran well when second to Golden Spear at Down Royal in November, and looked at least as good as ever when easily beating Pravalaguna at Killarney last month. Not finished improving yet, it seems, and merits a place on the shortlist.
Won at Ballinrobe in May, and ran even better when runner-up to Ming Dynasty at Bellewstown on her latest start. Claims in current mood, but stepping up markedly in class here.
Produced a career best to beat stablemate Ejayteekay at Bellewstown, but hit with a 9lb rise for that, and just a respectable fourth at Killarney last time.
Improved to win maiden at Gowran, handicap at Kilbeggan and novice at Punchestown last season. Not disgraced when ninth of 24 to Ch'tibello in County Hurdle at Cheltenham last time, but he appears to be in the handicapper's grip for now.
Last Year's Winner
|T: W P MullinsJ: Mr P W Mullins|
Band of Outlaws (9/2), Shanning (9/2), Riven Light (7/1), Gardens of Babylon (8/1), Chosen Mate (9/1), Tudor City (10/1), Stratum (10/1), Sole Pretender (11/1), Davids Charm (12/1), Ming Dynasty (20/1), Light That (20/1), Hearts Are Trumps (25/1), Golden Spear (25/1), Play The Game (25/1), Star Maker (25/1), Avenir D'Une Vie (25/1), Sayo (28/1), Due Reward (33/1), Pearl Of The West (33/1), Ejayteekay (33/1), Tombstone (33/1), The King Of Brega (33/1), Garo De Juilley (50/1)
- Hearts Are Trumps
- Band of Outlaws
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