Enda Bolger dominates the market here with the first, second and third favourites (all opened by J P McManus) but it’s Quantitativeeasing (4/5) who looks the best bet for us. He beat Cantlow (2/1) on Thursday when winning the La Touche Cup and they reoppose. While the favourite is on 5lb worse terms, he’s always had far more ability than his stablemate and was value for more than the eventual winning distance suggested. His trainer obviously thinks he’s ready to run again otherwise he wouldn’t be turning him out and with Mark Walsh again riding we can see him coming out in front again.
Be Positive (11/1) unseated in the Ladies Perpeutal Cup 4 days ago and takes his place here as the 3rd and least fancied Bolger runner. He has previous form winning over the banks but that was two years ago and his unseat earlier this Festival was his first start since then. With so much to be taken on trust, including fitness and ability, he’s tough to back even at far bigger odds than his other two stablemates.
Moving on from Enda Bolger, Peter Maher enters two with Mtada Supreme (16/1) and Chestnut Charlie (50/1) – the fourth and fifth favourites meaning the top five in the market are trained by just two yards. The former looks by far the most likely of any in the field to have a genuine shot on paper of upsetting either of the front two in the market, having won a handicap chase last time out over ordinary fences, but he’s going to have to show more liking to the bank course than he did to the Cross Country fences when well beaten at both Punchestown and Cheltenham earlier in the year. The latter is 14 year old rated just 102 who ran 10 days ago and with fitness and ability both against him he shouldn’t be good enough to feature.
Despite enduring a terrible season so far, Conor O’Dwyer’s Prosperity Square (100/1) could upset the form book and pull out a good result. After finishing eighth in this race last year, a seventh place finish at Thurles in October is the best placing he has been able to manage from his seven seasonal runs. However, he was a 14/1 shot when winning over course and distance here, on firm ground at the start of last season, sneaking a narrow victory from Embracing Change by half a length. The trip won’t be a problem and the going should be a bonus giving him the chance to sneak into the places.