Hopefully he'll take a step forward
12:30 – Saint D'oroux
I was a bit disappointed with his first run at Down Royal. He was going nicely at home and was showing me that he would be very competitive there but he ended up being well beaten. I think he has come on and progressed since then so hopefully he will take a step forward and be competitive here.
Envoi Allen is the one to beat
13:00 – Abacadabras and Envoi Allen
I was delighted with Abacadabras when he won a nice race at Navan a few weeks ago. He showed he had learnt plenty from his first run over hurdles and I really like the way he jumped and quickened up over the last three flights that day. He's a talented horse who I think should be competitive at the top level as a novice hurdler so I'd be hoping for a good showing.
Envoi Allen was impressive in his maiden hurdle at Down Royal and I really like the way he jumped that day. This will be far tougher and I believe that we will only see the best of him when he goes out in trip but he's a classy type with plenty of pace so it makes sense to keep him at this trip for the time being. Obviously he is still unbeaten for us and we are hoping that he will develop into a top class novice hurdler but this will be a good test for him as he is taking on some really good types. His overall form makes him the one to beat and I couldn't be happier with him coming into this race.
Samcro the likeliest of my pair to succeed in hot race
13:30 – Samcro & Tintangle
I got a great kick out of Samcro winning at Down Royal a few weeks ago. Throughout the autumn I was much happier with him than I was last season and I thought he showed a lot of his old spark at Down Royal. It wasn't the strongest of beginner's chases but he couldn't have done any more than win the way he did and I know that he has improved since then. He was bought with a view to being a potentially top class chaser and I'm hoping he can show that to be the case. He's very well in himself and I'm expecting a big run.
Tintangle is a mare with plenty of talent. She isn't the easiest to train but she's a good mare when she's on song. This looks a very hot race for her though and you'd have to say that she looks up against it.
All four of my quartet could perform well
14:05 – Monbeg Notorious, General Principle, Out Sam & Prince Of Scars
Monbeg Notorious had a good time of things as a novice chaser when he won the Thyestes Chase but things have been tougher for him since then. He has plenty of ability but isn't the easiest to predict so I couldn't be too confident about his chances. Having said that he will love the trip and he is more than good enough to go close if he applies himself.
General Principle won the Irish Grand National over this course and distance two seasons ago and I think he's handicapped to win another good race over fences. His jumping let him down a bit in a couple of his races last season but this is probably an easier race than some of those he has contested over the last year and he could easily show up well if putting his best foot forward.
Out Sam loves a trip and slow ground so he has everything in his favour. He doesn't win very often but he has run plenty of good races in staying handicaps and he is going well at home so I wouldn't put anyone off his chances.
Prince Of Scars is an interesting horse. He has to have soft ground and because of that we only got to run him twice last season. I'd be happy to disregard his last run at Punchestown but his previous one behind Presenting Percy at Gowran was encouraging. He is a former grade 1-winning hurdler and he shows me at home that he still retains plenty of his ability so it will be interesting to see how he gets on. He's not badly treated on some of his runs over fences and he will love this trip so I wouldn't be surprised to see him show up well.
Fantastic mare could bounce back
14:40 – Apple's Jade
Even though she does improve for her first run of the season we were all expecting much better from Apple's Jade at Navan when she was a well beaten second in the Lismullen Hurdle. She's been an incredible mare for us over the last few seasons and she's produced many top class efforts and possibly those efforts are starting to catch up with her.
At home she is working away like she always has and I've been happy with her since Navan so hopefully she can bounce back. She's produced some brilliant displays in this race over the last few seasons and hopefully a return to Fairyhouse will be good for her. I'd love it if she could come back to form and I wouldn't be surprised if she does as she seems very well in herself but win or lose she has been the most fantastic mare for everyone involved with her.
Chosen Mate the most promising of this pair
15:10 – Campeador & Chosen Mate
Campeador should have won this race three years ago only for falling at the last. On his day he is a high class sort but he can be a bit hit and miss. We tried him over a longer trip on his comeback at Naas but he got tired over the last half miles so we decided to bring him back in distance. He's got the ability to run well but he needs to leave his recent efforts well behind.
Chosen Mate has a big handicap in him I think. He's a horse that is still open to progress over hurdles and this track will suit him a lot better than Listowel which I think he found a bit too sharp when he ran in a good handicap hurdle there a few months ago. He's in good shape and working nicely so I'd be expecting a good run.
And finally… four for the future
15:40 – Favori de Champdou, Goodleft Goodright, Jimmy Jimmy & Ragnar Lodbrok
Favori de Champdou showed ability to be placed in three point-to-point runs last season. He looks a grand horse and I'm happy with what he has shown us but I think he is more of a staying type who will come into his own over jumps.
Goodleft Goodright is a grand horse with a good attitude and his last few bits of work have shown us that he is ready to start out for the season. He will be a shade green and raw and whatever he does here he will improve on.
Jimmy Jimmy is a nice type who has shown promise in his work. He'll be a nice type to go jumping with down the line but I'm keen to let him take his chance in a bumper so we can see where he will fit in for the rest of the season. Hopefully he will run a nice race but he will improve plenty for this run.
Ragnar Ladbrok is a good looking horse by the same sire as Commander Of Fleet. He has been going fine at home and is showing that he is ready to start out so it will be interesting to see how he gets on. He'll improve plenty for this run.
Best Chance – Envoi Allen (13:00)
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