Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Home By The Lee and JJ Slevin should have a huge chance in the feature race of day three, the Stayers’ Hurdle. Photo: Inpho.

The Turners Novices’ Chase opens proceedings on Thursday and the favourite is a lot of people’s idea of the banker for the week, the Gordon Elliott trained Mighty Potter. He’s three from three over fences this season and was mightily impressive at Leopardstown at the DRF. I like him but at the prices I think Joseph O’Brien’s Banbridge has to have a big chance, especially as he’s a course winner and will like the good ground. Henry de Bromhead’s Journey With Me isn’t without a chance either. Balco Coastal and Stage Star are definitely the pick of the British runners.

The Pertemps Final has been cut back this year but it still looks difficult to solve (as always). There was a right gamble in recent weeks on Charles Byrne’s Shoot First but unfortunately he had to pull out on Sunday. Gordon Elliott’s Maxxum ran a stinker at the DRF but he was very impressive in his two wins before that and if he returns to form he has to have a chance. Nicky Henderson’s Walking On Air impressed the last day too. Tricky looking contest, as they say.

The Ryanair has really changed in the last few weeks. Since last year’s Festival Allaho (seeking three in a row) was all the rage but he’s injured and doesn’t run and after impressing recently the forgotten horse, Shiskin, is now money on. He ran really well the last day at Ascot and this now looks very weak but I won’t be having Shiskin in too many bets as he’s a very unpredictable horse. Brilliant at times but throws in some stinkers too. Not for me. Fakir Doudairies ran a stinker the last day at Ascot but he’s surely better than that. Looks a poor race to be fair.

The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle is the championship race on day three and this looks like a cracking contest now. A few weeks ago it looked stink. Charles Byrnes’ Blazing Khal ran a cracker when winning at Navan last time out after being off the track for 14 months but the vibes aren’t great about his preparation so I’d be leaving him be. One who must be a big player, especially on softer ground, is Gordon Elliott’s Teahupoo and of course the three in a row chasing Flooring Porter, who is reported to be flying it at home after a poor season. The one I like is Home By The Lee for Joseph O’Brien and JJ Slevin. He reminds me of Flooring Porter the first year he won this. He had the best Irish form coming into it but was still a 12/1 shot on the day. He’ll do for me.

The Magners Handicap Chase might not be one of the most glamorous races of the week but it does have a Mullins favourite (shock horror) this time it’s Emmett Mullins’ So Scottish. Paul Nicholls’ Il Ridoto is the best of the British, while Datsalrightgino for Jamie Snowden might have an outsider’s chance. Not a race to be dwelling on for too long so let’s move on.

It’s great to see Waterford’s own Jack de Bromhead remembered by having the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle named in his honour and his father has a live chance here with Magical Zoe who is two from two over obstacles this season. The warm order favourite here is the Nicky Henderson trained Luccia who has hacked up in her two hurdle runs. Willie Mullins has Ashroe Diamond and Lot of Joy (Ruby Walsh has been talking up) and of course his brother, Tony, runs the former star mare on the flat Princess Zoe who dead heated on her only hurdle start recently and he’s very bullish about her chances.

The Kim Muir is the concluding contest on the Thursday and the Gavin Cromwell trained Stumptown is warm favourite after his impressive win at Sandown last time out and I think he’ll take an awful lot of beating. This race is confined to amateur riders and with one of the top Irish amateurs on his back, he could be a good thing in here.

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