1.30 Triumph Hurdle

Although the clerk of the course has begun his ‘watering to maintain’ process, fast ground still looks the order of the day and those conditions at least give IVANOVICH GORBATOV a chance to redeem his reputation as one of the best juveniles around. Impressive on debut at Leopardstown at the Christmas meeting, Aidan O’Brien’s charge disappointed when a warm order to follow up in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle back at the same track on Irish Hennessy day.

Conditions were that bad that day, that you’d be willing to give any horse the benefit of the doubt and although his priced is still very much based on hype and connections rather than pure form, it would be dangerous to right him off completely. Of the pair ahead of him that day at the Dublin venue, LET’S DANCE makes the most appeal as the one most likely to uphold the form and she looks the type to relish the stamina test that this particular race demands. The way she was keeping on well for pressure from the back of the last points towards her having her heart in the right place and even though she’s unproven on a quick surface, her frame suggests she will appreciate it better than the heavy ground she’s been forced to race on in her three outings over hurdles to date. Willie Mullins’ strong hand is complete with the likes of APPLE’S JADE, who comes right into the mix off the back of her strong-staying performance in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown last time and FOOTPAD who shouldn’t be forgotten is the only Grade 1 winning four-year-old in the line-up thanks to that success in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle last time.
Let's Dance - 1pt @ 14/1

2.10 County Hurdle

BLUE HELL has been saved specifically for this race ever since scoring with a bit to spare in a red-hot handicap at Fairyhouse back in November and with the time of the race good and the likes of Henry Higgins, Keppolls Queen, Good As Gold and Diamond King (won Coral Cup Wednesday) all coming out and franking the form since, Alan Fleming’s inmate has to rate a massive player. Although that victory was achieved on soft ground, the son of Russian Blue has plenty of solid form on a quicker surface and even though he has to race off a considerably higher mark and has yet to race at this track, the unexposed six-year-old still makes plenty of appeal. Fast ground specialist FETHARD PLAYER will relish the surface better than most and has to be considered based on his eye-catching effort in a similar race at Aintree last season, while other Irish raider BENTELIMAR warmed up nicely for a tile at this prize behind the useful Sempre Medici in the Red Mills at Gowran the last day.
Blue Bell - 1pt @ 10/1

2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Having apparently worked well against Vautour in a gallop the other day, GANGSTER should prove a popular choice hailing from a yard whose bandwagon has accelerated into orbit. A convincing winner of a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse last time out, the Green Tune gelding won’t lack for stamina on the evidence of that display. Willie Mullins also looks to have plenty of ammunition beyond the third favourite and both LONG DOG and BLEU ET ROUGE are proven Grade 1 performers and have to be respected accordingly.
Gangster - 1pt @ 7/1
The raiding party look to have an extremely strong hand here with realistically only Cue Card standing in the way of a total domination. Even without Vautour, Willie Mullins still has the likes of DJAKADAM and DON POLI to run for gold and with both of them proven stayers, it’s perfectly plausible to see one of the pair storming up the hill and ending the master trainer’s hoodoo in the blue riband. Although the former hasn’t always been the safest of conveyances over fences, he’s looked really good when keeping both feet on the ground and if he runs anywhere near the standard that witnessed him finish runner-up in this race last year, he could easily justify his position in the market. The latter also has his quirks, but he, too, can look devastating when he puts it all in and if he’s anywhere near them turning for home, there’ll be few staying on stronger than him up the hill.

Clearly, plenty of punters will view Brian Cooper’s decision to opt for DON COSSACK and a massive significance and that may turn out to be the case if Gordon Elliot’s charge can avoid the kind of mistakes that have blotted his copy book in the past.
Djakadam - 1pt @ 3/1

4.10 Foxhunter Chase

All eyes will clearly be on last year’s hero ON THE FRINGE and with the ground coming in his favour, he’s likely to prove a very popular choice for many. Easily the best hunter chaser on the circuit, Edna Bolger’s charge can be forgiven for a slightly below-par effort at Leopardstown on his reappearance due to the heavy ground and providing he’s somewhere near the same sort of form he was twelve months ago, the son of Exit To Nowhere is clearly the one to beat. Of the rest, MARITO has been in terrific form on home soil of late and he could be a big player if he copes with the quicker ground, while Jim Culloty will be hoping that his IT CAME TO PASS can force his name back into the limelight on the same day Lord Windermere gave him his most memorable day as a trainer.
On The Fringe - 1pt @ 3/1

4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle

Gordon Elliot has enjoyed a fantastic meeting so far and there’s every chance that SQUOUATEUR can provide the Co Meath handler with another winner. Brought along steadily by his canny handler, the son of Martiline sprang to prominence as a likely one for this race with a smooth victory at Fairyhouse last time out and with the third horse home that day, Mall Dini, franking the form in the best possible way in the Pertemps, he could go off one of the best backed horse of the day. JETSTREAM JACK makes up a powerful team for the Elliot camp and he rates a major consideration given his form in some top quality races on home soil and his lenient-looking mark.
Squouateur - 1pt @ 4/1

5.30 Grand Annual Chase

ROCK THE WORLD has clearly been saved especially for this prize having not run since winning over this course way back in October and this hugely consistent type looks primed to go well on ground that will suit. BRIGHT NEW DAWN has predominately been plying his trade in the very best company for the last few seasons and his speed figures suggests he should be suited by the helter-skelter nature on this frantic race.
Rock The World - 1pt @ 11/1