Not the most reliable sort but Dressedtothenines (9/1) has the ability to vastly outperform her current mark of 125. She had an impressive 4 wins from her 10 hurdle starts, including a Grade 2 win, but she’s always looked a chaser. She’s only won once over the larger obstacles – a Novice Mares Grade 3 Cork contest, but she was sent off favourite for a valuable Leopardstown event two starts ago before being pulled up off the same mark. She ran better than the result suggests last time out and if the blinkers can improve her concentrate she’s got the ability.
Bonny Kate (7/1) will be looking to bounce back in style, after disappointingly pulling up in the Irish Grand National, when starting the race as the firm favourite. The six year old mare looks better suited to trips over three miles, having been a convincing winner over 28 furlongs here at Punchestown in January. But her previous run was a winning effort at this distance, leaving the highly rated Marinero six length behind in a Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse. The good ground could be a worry, as on the last two occasions she has encountered going firmer than soft, she has failed to complete the race, but she’s clearly very talented and should have a good chance.
One mare who will enjoy the firmer conditions is Perfect Promise (14/1) and trainer James Mangan will be hoping his eight year old will run a big race. She was the winner in a competitive chase at Galway in September, leaving Shantou Flyer and favourite Urano over six lengths behind. Since then, she hasn’t been in the best of form, finishing third behind the imperious Vroum Vroum Mag and third again at Fairyhouse behind Emily Gray (15/2), who incidentally is the massive top weight in this contest. But with conditions now in her favour, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Perfect Promise fighting it out for the win.
Paul Nolan’s Solita (6/1) could be a big danger in this one, after impressively winning her last two races over this trip. She was a 16/1 shot when winning a handicap hurdle in February, before coming out on top of a modest field in a handicap chase at Fairyhouse last month, finishing well ahead fellow entrant I’m All You Need (16/1) of EMS runner Guitar Pete. Her rating may have gone up ten pounds after those wins, but she will go off at the same weight she was for that Fairyhouse victory, so another good performance is expected.
Cresswell Breeze (9/1) was looking on course to take victory in a Listed Mares Chase at Cheltenham earlier this month, but a number of mistakes resulted in her taking a tumble at the fourth last. She has been extremely consistent so far this season, finishing a close second to Emily Gray at Fontwell and getting even closer too another of today’s runners Centasia, in a recent two and a half miler at Warwick. Once again, the good ground could be a problem for her, but if she can recapture the form that saw her claim a 19 length victory at Wincanton earlier in the season she would be up there.