3.05pm Down Royal Tips & Betting Preview 05/11/2016

Seven horses’ go to post for what promises to be a very competitive Titanic Belfast Chase at the Down Royal races on Saturday. This Grade 2 has attracted some top names including top Grade 1 performer Outlander but the vote goes to the Henry De Bromhead trained SUB LIEUTENANT. The seven year old Brian Boru gelding is one of three runners in the field for the powerful Gigginstown House Stud outfit but he should benefit from a recent run. He couldn’t have been more impressive when landing a chase at Limerick on seasonal reappearance by 13 lengths last month. Henry De Bromhead has been in terrific form; 6 winners from his last 24 runners and looks a trainer on the up. Outlander, Zabana and Le Mercurey all lack a recent run so this looks a golden opportunity for our selection to make use of his race fitness.

1 OUTLANDER – Gordon Elliott is on the crest of a wave at present and when all of these horses’ are at their best, there’s no doubt this boy is the best in the field. The 8 year old seldom runs a poor race and although he fell at the Cheltenham Festival in March, he only found the progressive Kylemore Lough too good in the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse soon after that. He chased home Zabana in the Punchestown Champion Novice Chase when last seen and more than likely will need the run here.

2 ZABANA – Beat Outlander at Punchestown when last seen so looks the clear form pick coming into the contest. He is a horse that loves a bit of cut in the ground so he wouldn’t want to ground to dry up too much. The ground is good at the moment so he will appreciate a drop of rain. He was well backed for the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last season but unseated Davy Russell at the starting tape. He is still only a 7 year old which is young for a chaser so his best days could be ahead of him.

3 LE MERCUREY – Any runner Paul Nicholls sends to Ireland has to be respected and he has an exceptional strike rate here at Down Royal. This six year old is open to a lot of progress over fences and he capped last season off with a brilliant 7 length beating of Bristol De Mai in a Grade 2 at Ayr. He finished last of the 8 runners in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham prior but if he comes here fresh and well he could be a massive danger to our selection.

4 SUB LIEUTENANT – Henry De Bromhead is in terrific form at present and there’s no jockey in Ireland as hot as DJ Mullins currently. This horse looked terrific on seasonal debut at Limerick last month and although he looks a horse that prefers a bit of cut in the ground, he has won on good ground in the past. With some of his rivals potentially in need of a run to blow the cobwebs away, he should be able to take full advantage with race fitness and a trainer in form on his side. Interestingly, he has an entry for the King George so clearly they have high hopes for him this season.

5 NET D’ECOSSE – Noel Meade trained runner who has had 315 days on the sidelines so it would be a big surprise if he were good enough to land this tough contest. Lightly raced six year old who clearly has had training problems and his best run to date was a narrow Beginners’ Chase victory at Punchestown on heavy ground this time last year. He would be a shock winner.

6 SHADOW CATCHER – Eight year old gelding trained by Gordon Elliott and Barry Geraghty will take the ride which has to be a positive. Very inconsistent runner and his last win came in a three runner affair at Cork this time last year. He was 6th in the Galway Plate but was last of the five runners at Limerick behind Sub Lieutenant last month and it’s hard to see him troubling the principles off the back of that.

7 CELTIC THUNDER – Seven year old gelding who has showed very little on his five starts to date. All five runs have also come on heavy ground so it’s possible conditions will be against him here. He was pulled up at Newcastle when last seen and looks impossible to fancy.

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