The stats for this prestigious prize point towards lightly-raced novices carrying less than 11st and the one that springs off the page is AFTER RAIN (NAP) (best prices 6/1)
,who has the look of a potentially well-treated type that could easily leave behind his current handicap mark. The first encouraging aspect is that Barry Geraghty has chosen Shay Barry’s charge above the other eight J.P McManus –owned horses in the race and secondly he arrives here off the back of a career-high performance in the best handicap hurdle run in Ireland so far this season. The form of his run behind the useful Blue Hell in that strongly-run affair at Fairyhouse last time has been advertised by Diamond King, Keppols Queen and Good As Gold subsequently and with potential of more to come, the Al Namix gelding has very seductive claims.
CORAL are paying 1/4 odds SIX places on this race
Just in case the main selection doesn’t run up to scratch, COLLA PIER (best price 18/1)
makes the most appeal of the remainder and has to be worth a small saver at her overpriced odds. Patrick Mooney has to be commended for turning around the fortunes of this one-time frustrating mare and even though her rapid improvement has seen her rise to a current career-high mark of 122, the way she travels and jumps, the daughter of Hawk Wing has the kind of run-style that should be well suited by a big-field handicap of this nature.