This should be a competitive race for the grade with 12 horses going to post for prize money worth 29,500 Euros to the winner. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: JP McManus holds a strong hand here with two live chances despite the strong presence from the Gordon Elliot camp. He will be bullish about the chances of Scoir Mear who should go well under Barry Geraghty following his fine run here three weeks ago but it might pay to take a chance on COPY THAT. He was a good winner of handicaps last year and had excuses last time when something was possibly amiss. He should benefit from a patient Mark Walsh ride here and can get his nose in front of Thomas Mullins’ charge. King’s Bandit should again go well under Davy Russell but hasn’t won for while whilst Automated can do better under Bryan Cooper.
1 Clarcam – Good winner of a Grade 3 chase at Killarney (Good/Firm) in May over 2m4f and followed up with a facile win in a minor hurdles race at Down Royal a month later. Has been contesting up to Grade 2 level since and has bumped into a good one on more than one occasion, including Alelchi Inois twice. Five length runner-up to that one in the Clonmel Oil Chase last time out back over hurdles today. Has a 7lb claimer on board and wears cheekpieces and probably needs a lot more here for win purposes. Yard represent a quarter of the field here.
2 King’s Bandit – Previously trained by Oliver Sherwood for whom he won a hat-trick of hurdles races. Stayed on well to take fifth behind Emcon in a strongly run handicap hurdle at Cork (Heavy) over 2m4f four weeks ago. Should improve for that outing and rallied well at the business end of the race. Up in grade here and should continue to give a good account for his in-form trainer who is well represented here.
3 Massini’s Trap – Has been in-and-out of form all year but has put up good performances in his last two, winning at Aintree (Good) in a Class 2 hurdle there by 5 five lengths and finished runner-up to El Terremento at Haydock last time out. That one ran quite well in third in a lesser event at Haydock yesterday so form line nothing to shout about. Needs to improve immensely to get involved here back on home soil.
4 Gurteen – Golan gelding who has only run five times, scoring in easy fashion under rules on his second start at Leopardstown (Heavy) from Some Neck and on his first start over hurdles at Navan (Heavy) from De Plotting Shed. Both of those wins were comfortable and over 2m so step up to 2m4f not sure to suit. Only third over 2m1f on last start but a good jumper who should handle the conditions he has a solid each-way chance if hi stamina holds up – pedigree suggests it will.
5 Copy That – Son of Milan who landed a maiden hurdle in comfortable fashion on his second start at Tipperary (Good/Soft) last year and landed back to handicap victories last Autumn at Galway (Good/Soft) then Leopardstown (Heavy). A strong traveller with a bit of a turn of foot, something looked amiss last time out at Fairyhouse (Good/Soft) in a Grade A hurdle two weeks ago but had previously run third at Galway the time before. Can go well on best form and has Mark Walsh up for his retained owner who has been having a grand time of things recently. Hopes will be high he can bounce back to his best here up in trip and his mark remains workable.
6 Rossvoss – Won this race last year on heavy ground when a facile winner by eighteen lengths from the useful Bentelimar. Been running over 1m4f on the flat on last two outings and been well beaten on both starts. Switches back to hurdles here and not out of it a at price on last years form. Wears blinkers again for this.
7 Automated – Won here over 2m (Heavy) in February by six lengths and has found it hard to win again since despite some creditable runs in defeat over hurdles and on the flat. Drops in grade for this after a fair run when fourth of 17 recently at Fairyhouse and is the pick of Gordon Elliot’s runners for Bryan Cooper. Up in trip today but looks a tricky customer to ride. Market vibes would be a positive.
8 Emcon – Been in fine form recently with two wins from 5 runs already this term over this trip. Versatile regards the ground he was a good second behind Not For Burning in a good handicap chase 15 days ago. On a good mark of 126 still back over hurdles and should continue to run to a consistent level although he does seem to win after a short break so another quick turn out may count against him here in what should be another slog.
9 Scoir Mear – Has been in good form with two wins from his last three runs albeit in minor hurdles events at Tipperary (Heavy) and Galway (Soft) the last two. Ran very well in second at Navan (Good/Soft) in a similar race three weeks ago, staying on stoutly to see out the 2m6. Should continue to give a good account here and looks the pick of the McManus runners with Barry Geraghty on board
10 Hurricane Darwin – One win from only 2 runs this term, landing a minor event over this trip at Down Royal (Good) in May. Returned from a six month break to finish third in a maiden hurdle at Thurles (Soft) 16 days ago, always travelling well and should come on for that run. Probably best watched for now upped to this level.
11 Little Haarth – Won a handicap hurdle at Ballinrobe (Good/Soft) in April and but has largely struggled in minor events since, including when only fifth of 9 last time at Clonmel (Good/Soft) trying 3m for the first time. Looks up against it here facing some hardy rivals despite trainer going well at the moment with his hurdlers.
12 High Expectations – Looks up against it judged on his fair fourth in a handicap hurdle here 35 days ago over 2m (Good/Soft). They looked to be gong a bit slow for him that day and might appreciate a stronger gallop here. Significantly up in trip and doesn’t look to be one of the stable’s stronger runners here.