Ten go to post for the penultimate race of the day at Fairyhouse, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Preference is for LAID BACK LUKE, who didn’t stay the trip on his latest start at Punchestown and going down in trip will suit him much better. Conditions are also to suit with the softer ground a bonus and should now be able to build on the promise he showed on chase debut at Clonmel, so has to be respected. His main challenge may come from Catalaunian Fields who should appreciate the step up in trip, though cheekpieces are now discarded.
1 CATALAUNIAN FIELDS – Won at Tramore on his third chasing starts which was quite the surprise after his two lacklustre runs over fences beforehand (2m, Soft to Heavy). Stepping up in trip should suit and bring out further improvement as he was a winner over hurdles at the three mile trip, though it is a concern that cheekpieces are discarded for today. He has definite place claims in conditions that suit and deserves a second look.
2 BRIGHT TOMORROW – Rated 118 over hurdles which puts him right in the thick of the action but has shown nothing of worth in two starts to date over fences, tailing off after a poor round of jumping at Leopardstown in December (2m 3f, Yielding). Looks to be one for handicaps further down the line and hard to make a case for him today despite having conditions that will suit him.
3 BRINGEROFTHEDAWN – Won a maiden hurdle at Ballinrobe in April (2m 5f, Heavy) and has shown a decent level of form thus far over fences, placing at Thurles and Cork in November. Conditions are fine today but there is a suspicion he needs to show more if he’s to be involved against some horses who have more progressive profiles. He has place claims but hard to see him winning a race of this nature on these terms.
4 GIRLY GIRL – Rated 127 over hurdles and finished 9th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival in March (2m, Good) but hasn’t anywhere near that form over fences. She has been unlucky to come up against Bellshill, Listen Dear and Balko Des Flos but didn’t finish in the same post code as those rivals and was incredibly fortunate to place on her latest run at Fairyhouse as she was the last finisher and 76 lengths behind the winner. She has conditions to suit but she looks up against it again today despite the easier opposition, with other horses achieving much more to date over fences.
5 GOULANE CHOSEN – Eight year old who is thoroughly exposed over fences and has a record of 0-14 which is an immediate negative. He does set a decent benchmark to aim at however and has been consistent in the main over fences which lands him into the frame for placings, but others have much more progressive profiles and is likely to find at least one of these far too good for him.
6 INIS MEAIN – Was emptying at a rapid rate when unseating Denis Hogan at the second from home at Limerick on his latest start (2m 6f, Soft to Heavy) so dropping back in trip was the correct move. He has only raced three times over fences and showed promise on the other two occasions and is rated 123 at present, and does look a likely type to challenge for victory today with conditions certainly in his favour. He does possibly lack the scope for improvement that other rivals have at the age of ten but he is still respected with Denis O’Regan now on board, and should go close if this drop back in trip does benefit him sufficiently.
7 LAID BACK LUKE – Showed a useful level of form over hurdles and was rated 120, with the switch to fences looking like a positive change when finishing a good second at Clonmel in December (2m, Yielding to Soft). He was keeping on well on that occasion and narrowly holds Motown Bob on that form, and although he wasn’t so good on his latest start at Punchestown, the trip was much too far and dropping back to this sort of distance will suit much better. Now at a suitable trip he should resume his progress and has to be respected as the likeliest type today with conditions perfect for him.
8 MOTOWN BOB – Much better chaser than he was over hurdles but hasn’t been improving much over these larger obstacles, and despite finishing fourth to Catalaunian Fields at Tramore on New Year’s Day, it was not an improvement on his previous runs. He now has stamina to prove going up in trip but the Henry De Bromhead yard are in stellar form at present with a record of 6-11 in the past two weeks, and jockey David Mullins has been in equally good nick with four winners from his last eleven rides. Certainly has place claims but does need to show a significant benefit from this step up in trip for win purposes.
9 MR BOSS MAN – Has been alternating between the all weather and fences the last few starts and his latest fourth at Limerick was an improvement on his second start over fences (2m 6f, Soft to Heavy). Steps back in trip today which should suit better but he does have something to find on these terms with other rivals showing much better form thus far, though if improving again as he did on his latest start he’d certainly be in the frame for places. Hard to trust he will however as a consistent but rarely improving hurdler so is probably best left alone today.
10 OLD TIME MELODY – Rated 91 over hurdles which already means he has a huge amount to find, and the fact he has pulled up twice in his last three starts further compounds the case against him. He can only be watched on chasing debut as it is impossible to make a case for him against other much more progressive and talented rivals.