It was a better Wednesday with all selections for the last four races winning (admittedly all favourites). Altior was given a proper test, while bumper winner Envoi Allen looks very impressive.
On to Thursday and an excellent card from start to finish.
13:30 JLT Chase
Defi Du Seuil*** (3/1 > 5/2) would not have been on the radar for me at the start of the season, but has developed into a really good chaser. A former Triumph Hurdle winner, I think that this is his ideal distance and he’ll have the best of the ground in the first race on the New Course since New Year’s Day. He was second to Lostintranslation in January but beat him on his next outing at Sandown.
Real Steel is probably the best of the Willie Mullins trio but Ruby has chosen Voix Du Reve.
Kildisart (9/1) is the best of the rest and could be a big improver.
14:10 Pertemps Final
This is the usual lottery and the one that caught my eye is Joseph O’Brien’s Thermistocles* (12/1). He’s been aimed at this race.
I can see why Sire Du Berlais is the 9/2 favourite. Fourth in the Martin Pipe last year and although his last outing when sixth seemed to be a plan to get into this race, I’m not convinced with the reminder of his form.
First Assignment (12/1) has a very good profile, including a win at Cheltenham last October in a Class 3 hurdle when 9/2f.
14:50 Ryanair Chase
This is in my view the best Ryanair yet and one of the proper highlights of the week.
I was all against Footpad** (7/2 > 5/1) as a result of what has been a disappointing season, particularly given the heights reached last season. However, he was running well at Leopardstown when headed by Simply Ned in the Grade 1 chase on 27 December, having reportedly suffered an overreach when falling the previous month. I’m willing to take a chance that he’s back to his best, in which case he wins.
Road To Respect has attracted a lot of support and is current favourite at 7/2. A previous Festival winner (Brown Advisory Plate) in 2017 and fourth in the following year’s Gold Cup, this season he has won the JN Wine Champion Chase at Down Royal and ran well in the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival so he clearly has a leading chance. The same can be said for Monalee (9/2), who has excellent credentials, second to Presenting Percy in last year’s RSA and won the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase last month over 2 1/2 miles which appears to be his ideal trip. They are both leading contenders and potential winners.
Un De Sceaux was second in this race and won in 2017. Although the ground will undoubtedly suit, I think that this is a step too far for the hard-campaigned 11-y-o (although I ‘d be delighted to be wrong!).
15:30 Stayers’ Hurdle
Another 11-y-o, Faugheen, is now the unlikely second favourite for this race at a fast contracting 7/2. For me, it takes a big leap of faith and you have to attach a lot to his defeat of last year’s winner of this race, Penhill, in the Punchestown Stayers’ Hurdle last April, when many thought that he was not faced with the toughest of challenges.
Paisley Park***** (2/1 > 7/4) is a horse that I’ve followed all season and has impeccable credentials for this race. He’s my only five star selection of the day and I’m looking forward to a dominant victory.
16:10 Brown Advisory Plate
Siruh Du Lac** (13/2) is one that I picked some time ago for this race.
16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
Posh Trish**** (13/2 > 6/1) is my second best of the day and represents really good value.
17:30 Kim Muir
Measureofmydreams* (9/2 > 7/2) appears to have been plotted for this one and featured in all the Irish previews that I saw.