A very competitive renewal of the Irish Cesarewitch, this big field are competing for €59,000 prize. Read on for expert analysis and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Sadly Abyssinian is now a non runner. There are any number in with chances now but our selection is GUSTAVUS VASSA who is making his debut for Willie Mullins and looks potentially extremely well handicapped.
1 TRAVERTINE – Has been running over hurdles for a while now but was 4-26 when regularly running in that sphere, that is nothing to get particularly excited about and his recent hurdles form is nothing special, has something to find off a high enough mark.
2 SNOW FALCON – Very interestingly this classy hurdler is the choice of Colin Keane who could’ve been on Song Of Namibia, was beaten under five lengths when 15th of 20 in an extremely competitive Leopardstown handicap, sent off 3/1 fav there from an impossible draw so must be of interest here if getting to the lead.
3 TED VEALE – Tony Martin is dab hand at preparing his charges for these big field handicaps and this one comes into the race in good form having won last time out at Listowel, may be tricky to defy a six pound rise in such a deep race however,
4 SONG OF NAMIBIA – Deserted by stable jockey which must be a negative but was ahead of Snow Falcon when beaten just over a length into sixth at Leopardstown from a wide draw, a repeat of that would see him go close here.
5 BENKEI – Won easily two starts ago over hurdles but took advantage of a very lenient mark there and was soundly put in his place by Order Of St George last time in the Irish St Leger, blinkers are added now but he’ll need to find extra to be involved.
6 FELIX MENDELSSOHN – A rather uninspiring profile on the flat having won just one of his eleven starts, a recent switch to hurdling didn’t bring any greater success and a mark of 93 looks no gift in a race like this, can be overlooked.
7 ABYSINNIAN (NON RUNNER) – A very intriguing runner, has bolted up twice since the addition of headgear and has the look of a group horse about him. A mark of 98 is no gift but Aidan O’Brien isn’t a speculative trainer when it comes to handicaps and it may be a tip in itself he runs here.
8 BHUTAN – Well beaten by Abysinnian on his first start on the flat since beating two subsequent group winners in his maiden in April 2016, has a 15 pound pull in the weights here with that horse however and could be very well handicapped indeed on only his third flat start.
9 MANDATARIO – 3-26 overall and not looking all that well handicapped at the moment, up five pounds since a neck second at the Curragh two starts ago and in a field full of interesting and unexposed types he isn’t at the top of the list.
10 WESTERN BOY – Beaten five lengths by Snow Falcon on his last start on the flat and then beaten seventeen lengths in his next start over hurdles, not looking like he has all that much breathing room off his current mark.
11 NIETZCHE – Enjoyed a fine season over hurdles including a close third at the Cheltenham festival but was beaten twelve lengths on his recent flat return and it’s a guessing game as to whether he has anything in hand on this mark.
12 SEA THE LION – A course winner who was upsides Snow Falcon in a bunched finish last time at Leopardstown where the race probably wasn’t run to suit, beaten by Snow Falcon the time before but not out of it from an each way perspective if things go right.
13 TARA DYLAN – Another who was involved in the Leopardstown Premier Handicap and finished ahead of a few of these, hasn’t won for a long while however and others appeal as more open to improvement.
14 WONDER LAISH – A very interesting candidate who comes here off an easy win over hurdles which will have served as a nice pipe opener, won off 87 beating Duretto in 2015 and runs off a pound lower here; extremely interesting.
15 MILES TO MEMPHIS – Won his first two starts on the flat reasonably comfortably but was held when favourite for a Bellewstown handicap last time, doesn’t look chucked in by any stretch of the imagination but is consistent and can’t be discounted.
16 VIGIL – Beaten out of sight by Renneti two starts ago and not much more encouragment when beaten seventeen lengths last time, dropped slightly in the weights but seems to have it all to do on these terms.
17 ARTFUL ARTIST – Ran very well last time when beaten just half a length in the Leopardstown handicap which could be an important form line for this race, fourth in this last year so will handle the track and won’t mind the ground – chance.
18 SIR ECTOR – Has run a couple of nice races in the hurdling sphere as of late but his last run on the flat would leave him with plenty to find off his current mark and a number of these are easier to recommend.
19 ST STEPHEN’S GREEN – Dropped two pounds for finishing down the field at Leopardstown last time but is still five pounds higher than his neck victory two starts ago, may struggle off this mark.
20 AUTOMATED – Won easily on the flat at Leopardstown in June but races off a 8 pound higher mark here and was well beaten at Galway following that, his recent start over hurdles was nothing to shout about and others look more fairly treated.
21 MR EVEREST – Hasn’t looked anything special since being awarded his maiden on debut, others are more appealing.
22 SAN REMO – A Frankel colt who came with a big reputation and hasn’t quite lived up to it, was a beaten favourite last time out and has something to find on these terms; jockey bookings would also suggest he isn’t particularly well fancied.
23 GRAND PARTNER – Will have no problems with the trip or ground but his flat form as of late isn’t particularly inspiring and the suspicion is that he’ll find a few of these a bit too progressive.
24 HERE FOR THE CRAIC – Beaten a narrow margin at Gowran back in August and then found the trip possibly too short last time out, will need to improve markedly for the step up in trip however as his mark looks no gift at all.
25 NEVERUSHACON – Ran a nice race when third over 2m 2f last time at Down Royal but has been put up a further three pounds for that and might not have the tactical speed for a race like this, hard to recommend.
26 GUSTAVUS VASSA – Won his maiden and has run two nice races since, was extremely eyecatching when running on into a never nearer third over ten furlongs last time, takes a big step up in trip here but is very interesting for the genius that is Willie Mullins.
27 IBSEN – Won off nearly a year off and nearly followed up behind Ted Veale last time out, comes here in a nice vein of form and with Gordon Elliott’s string in such good nick he can’t be discounted.
28 LORD ERSKINE – Comes here on a hat-trick having won over twelve furlongs on heavy ground the last twice, up nearly two stone since the first of those wins however and has a huge amount more on his plate in this.
29 LUCCA – Has won three of his last five but is up a total of twenty-one pounds since the first of those successes and this is much tougher, will do well to get involved.