3.40pm Leopardstown Tips & Betting Preview 05/03/2017

Six runners go to post for an intriguing novice chase on Sunday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: In reality there isn’t much between Identity Thief and GREAT FIELD, but the latter Willie Mullins trained six year old gets the verdict to go two from two over fences. Lightly raced over hurdles with only two runs, he switched to fences on his latest start under today’s rider and ran out a comfortable winner, landing a gamble that day. He remains with substantial potential and should be able to improve past the aforementioned rival, who rates as a risky proposition after his latest two runs but cannot be discounted as he too remains with significant potential in this sphere.

1 BAILY CLOUD – Useful chaser in his own right with two wins over the larger obstacles, but he has largely struggled against better competition this season. Running a big race when fourth at Leopardstown on Boxing Day in a Grade 1 (2m 1f, Yielding), he was well beaten when coming down at the same venue a month later (2m 3f, Good). He’s going to need substantial improvement if he’s to be bothering some rivals with far more potential, and he perhaps looks booked for another struggle today. Hard to make a case for.

2 IDENTITY THIEF – Sixth in the Champion Hurdle at the Festival over hurdles (2m, Good to Soft) and is a Grade 2 winner over fences, winning the Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown in November (2m, Soft). Clearly a smart horse but the wheels have come off his wagon the last twice, pulling up at Leopardstown in Grade 1 company in December when lame and unseating the rider at the first fence in the Irish Arkle at the same venue a month later (2m 1f, Good). Henry De Bromhead’s seven year old remains with huge amounts of potential in this sphere but he doesn’t rate as a straightforward proposition currently, and could be seen as risky. Bryan Cooper takes the ride for Gigginstown and if all goes to plan he’s booked to go very close, but that isn’t assured.

3 DON’T TOUCH IT – Won the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival last season who made a good start over fences, gaining his first deserved win at the third attempt when only needing to be pushed clear at Thurles (2m, Soft). He was impressive that day in the way he dismantled Dicosimo and remains of huge interest against some better opposition today. Going up in trip is only likely to suit him and today’s conditions are perfectly fine with Mark Walsh taking the ride. He looks set to go very close and has to be respected, as he couldn’t have won any easier on his latest start and remains with potential.

4 GREAT FIELD – Three time winner of hurdles when in France and he made the best possible start for Willie Mullins when easily winning on Irish debut at Leopardstown in April (2m 2f, Soft). Pulled up in the County Hurdle at the Festival after pulling too hard, he landed a gamble when making all under today’s rider Jody McGarvey at Gowran Park on chasing debut in January (2m, Soft). He won very comfortably that day and remains with a huge amount of potential in this sphere, with a lots of improvement expected today. Today’s conditions and trip will be no problem and he looks the likely winner as any improvement should see him away and clear. He looks to be the only pace angle in the race which furthers his claims and he should take a lot of beating with all things considered for powerful connections.

5 WOODLAND OPERA – Signed off over hurdles with a good win at Punchestown in April (2m 4f, Good to Yielding) and has shown promise over fences in two attempts, finishing fourth at Punchestown on his latest start in December (2m, Yielding to Soft). He does remain with potential in this sphere but will have to show marked improvement if he’s to be threatening today. Likely to need the principles to under perform to a huge degree and is likely best left alone today, with all things considered.

6 RANCHER LASS – Only six runs under rules but she has shown little to nothing in all of those efforts, two of which over the larger obstacles. She unseated her rider on her latest start at Fairyhouse last Saturday at the first fence, and she didn’t show anything of note on her first run over fences either. Looks completely out of her depth and makes no appeal today.

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