A quality chase for a Wednesday evening card with a pair of the six strong field both rated in the 150’s! Read on for our expert’s tip and runner by runner guide to the contest.
IN SUMMARY: Hidden Cyclone is strictly the one to beat at the weights but the twelve year old has not always been the cleanest jumper of fences and this will be his first start over the bigger obstacles since December 2015. SADLER’S RISK has plenty in his favour here, he relishes decent ground and looked a progressive chaser when last seen over fences at Down Royal. He can take this on the way to bigger and better targets later in the season.
1 SADLER’S RISK – Has made up into a far better chaser than he was hurdler, with decent ground the key to him. He won at Punchestown last Autumn, landing a Grade 3 over three miles and a furlong from Galway Plate winner Lord Scoundrel. He was outclassed the final time we saw him in 2016 when behind Valseur Lido in the Grade 1 JNWine Champion Chase at Down Royal. He performed creditably on his only run in 2017 so far when getting bogged down in soft ground back over hurdles and he looks likely to use this as a stepping stone back into graded company with a fluent success.
2 SANDYMOUNT DUKE – Was only three and a half lengths behind Bellshill at the 2016 Punchestown Festival, again showing an affinity for this track when fifth at a competitive handicap this year. He is another for whom decent ground is a must, with six of his seven wins coming on good, his other on good to firm. He is entitled to come on for his most recent run as it was his first outing since October and Ruby Walsh is an interesting booking for Jessica Harrington but, at the weights, he has an awful lot on his plate here.
3 DIAMOND KING – Impressive when landing the Coral Cup of 2016 from a mark of 149, showing plenty of adaptability, having won on heavy ground at Punchestown the time before. He landed the odds with little fuss on his chasing debut at Galway but the rest of his campaign didn’t go as smoothly. Excuses can be made for his defeats in Graded company but his most recent run when pulled up in a handicap over this course and distance from a mark of 146 is a little harder to excuse. Possesses the raw talent to get involved but is a rather risky proposition at present.
4 STONE HARD – Won on his debut in the point to point field, his first bumper and debut hurdle before spoiling his run when not winning a chase until his second start in the discipline. In all cases however, his original success has not been the precursor to anything further, disappointing with regularity. Likely to be found a handicap or two during the summer by Gordon Elliott with a mark of 130 to work with but, he is unlikely to be troubling the principals in this.
5 DRAYCOTT PLACE – Consistent handicapper but looks to be showing the effects of a hard season in his recent outings. The pick of his form has come on ground with considerably more cut in than he is likely to get here but at least is often a front runner, he may ensure that despite the small field, this is still a reasonable test. Looks likely to be outclassed unless the main players suffer more than their fair share of bad luck.
6 HIDDEN CYCLONE – Rated two pounds higher than Sadler’s Risk and receiving ten pounds on these terms, the twelve year old is strictly the one to beat. Although arguably better known over shorter, a second to Dynaste in a Ryanair and a third to John’s Spirit in a Paddy Power Chase over this trip are both among his career best efforts. He is twice a winner at Punchestown and has plenty of top notch form on decent ground, including when second to Clondaw Warrior in the Galway Hurdle. That said, he has never been the most fluent of jumpers of a fence and at the age of twelve, he is not open to any further improvement.