Wednesday’s Irish raiders
Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle
Bacardys made the frame at all three Spring Festivals last year, including when third here in the Champion Bumper. He has shaped like more of a stayer since entering the hurdling sphere.
Willie Mullins’ runner stayed on strongly to win a Grade One over two and a quarter miles at Leopardstown last month, and he should relish this longer trip of two miles and five furlongs. Invitation Only is held in high regard and can have a say in proceedings.
Best of the Irish: Bacardys Alternative: Invitation Only
Acapella Bourgeois put in a mighty impressive round of jumping to claim a facile victory at Navan last time out and that must surely mark him out as a key contender for the travelling contingent.
In an open looking contest, he could well hit the target. Any significant rainfall would aid his chances.
Alpha Des Obeaux ran a super race behind Thistlecrack in last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle. He would thrive on better ground, and has produced some promising efforts this season. He has had his problems this season, however, and he’ll need to be spot on if he is to feature.
Best of the Irish: Acapella Bourgeois
Alternative: Alpha Des Obeaux
Coral Cup Hurdle
Tombstone has been running well in graded company and he runs here off a nice mark. It would be disappointing if he couldn’t take advantage of this opportunity, before he goes chasing. Peregrine Run won a Grade Two over course and distance this term and, towards the bottom of the weights, deserves massive respect Automated is another who needs to be considered.
Best of the Irish: Tombstone Alternative: Peregrine Run
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
One of the best horses in training, Douvan, should make all the headlines in the feature on day two, where the Irish go in search of a first win since 2011. Willie Mullins’ charge is unbeaten since joining the Closutton team in November 2014 and he looks bombproof. He has won at the last two Cheltenham Festivals and, barring a mishap, looks almost certain to make it a hat-trick.
Special Tiara was third in this last year. If he can reproduce that effort, then he could sneak a place again. Best of the Irish: Douvan Alternative: Special Tiara
Glenfarclas Cross Country
Enda Bolger holds the key to this event, and Cantlow certainly sets the standard. He was a winner over course and distance in December, and ran a credible race in second when conceding over a stone to the winner here last time out. Back at level weights, he is capable of going one better this time around.
The improving Auvergnat could well make the frame. He got back to winning ways at Punchestown after unseating here in January. He should have plenty more to offer in this sphere. Bless The Wings ran a great race in defeat last year. He also finished runner-up to Cantlow at the track earlier this season. He holds massive claims at a track he loves.
Cause Of Causes, a multiple festival winner, is an intriguing addition to this division and should step up on his fifth place finish here in January.
Best of the Irish: Cantlow
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Dinaria Des Obeaux would appear to be our best chance. She won easily on her Irish debut before placing in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle, which was arguably the strongest race run in this division so far this season. She won a Grade Three last month, following a stewards’ enquiry, and looks capable of scoring here.
Prospectus stayed on well to win at Fairyhouse the last day and could run a big race.
Long Call holds a prominent posi- tion in the betting following his second place finish behind subsequent Adonis winner Master Blueyes and it would be no surprise if he were to make the frame.
Best of the Irish: Dinaria Des Obeaux
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Carter McKay won in emphatic style at Naas. He rates the best of the Irish bumper horses judging by that performance.
Ballyward was another notable winner for the Mullins camp on debut. He shaped like an exciting prospect and makes plenty of appeal.
Someday had a hard race when winning first time out this season, but if none the worse for those exertions, could make the frame.
The four-year-old Debuchet could find a few too good here but he was a very impressive winner last time out.
Best of the Irish: Carter McKay Alternative: Ballyward