A competitive 2m7f Handicap Chase with 13 runners, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: A fiercely competitive Handicap Chase where it may be wise to side with KILCARRY BRIDGE who has been running with enormous credit in some very tough races. Retour En France rates a danger off a very nice racing weight under Ruby Walsh and could be very dangerous if getting loose on the lead. Definite Ruby has been running extremely well this season but she’s up 7lbs for her last time out victory and that could hinder her chances of following up. Whatareudoingtome is another who could get involved if allowed to use his extreme stamina to his advantage off a very nice weight.
1 JETSTREAM JACK – The top-weight at 11-12 gets the service of the very capable Davy Russell who rode him last time out at Punchestown when he was a faller. The handicapper hasn’t relinquished his grip, he’s been on 140 the last 4 races despite worryingly falling on 2 of those occasions, but he has been aimed high by Gordon Elliott, competing in a Grade 2 (5th, beaten 58 lengths in the race which Acapella Bourgeois hacked up), the Thyestes(Fell) & The Guinness Handicap Chase (Fell) at Punchestown just last month. These are calmer waters but he will have to bounce back from some questionable efforts and his jumping must improve.
2 SAMBREMONT – Looked like being yet another big force coming off the Mullins conveyor belt when taking to Chasing in 2016, filling the runner-up spot in two Beginners’ Chases before going on to get his head in front in a Beginners’ Chase and landing a Grade 2, a respectable run in the Kim Muir was followed by a low-key effort at Punchestown. When he came back last season it was clear that the team at Closutton were keen to pursue a staying career for him but he hasn’t cut much ice in some very hot Handicaps. He contested the Troytown, Paddy Power Chase, Leinster National & Irish Grand National where he failed to complete any of them, being brought down in the Troytown and pulled-up in the others. Another who has a bit to prove under Paul Townend.
3 CHAMPAGNE HARMONY – This Stowaway gelding didn’t hang about Hurdling only running 5 times in that sphere before going Chasing. He has been steadily improving this year over the larger obstacles and has managed to win two Beginners’ Chase and finishing 5th in a Grade A Handicap, a long way adrift of some very smart sorts from powerful yards. Kilcarry Bridge, who re-opposes today, finished 11 lengths in front of him in that Grade A Handicap. Has work to do to get involved.
4 FULL CRY – Another who scored in some lower level Chases last year for Henry De Bromhead. Came up short when tried at Grade 3 finishing a long way adrift of Willie Mullins’ Westerner Lady and came up short again at Listed level. Pulled up last time out at Aintree in a Handicap last month. Improvement not ruled out but plenty of it needed in this competitive affair. Dylan Robinson takes off a valuable 5lbs which can only help.
5 DEFINITE RUBY – Some very good form this year for Gordon Elliott. Beat the very smart Slowmotion in a Grade B Handicap last time out also had the re-opposing Retour En France well behind that time. A 7lbs rise seems fair enough for that performance. She has also won a Grade C Handicap and a ran a respectable 4th in the Ulster National when the distance may have just stretched her. Jack Kennedy has guided her through all those races, but he misses out through injury today. David Mullins takes the ride.
6 HASH BROWN – Pulled up in the Troytown but has run well in a Grade A & Grade B handicap at both Leopardstown & Punchestown. Managed to finish within 3.5 lengths of A Toi Phil at Leopardstown which looks like some good form given what that horse managed last season. Arguably a step backwards last time out but clearly has the ability to win a big Handicap in time. Improvement needed but once again not ruled out by any means and mark is still 129 only 1lb higher than when 5th at Leopardstown. The slight drop back in trip should be in his favour.
7 KILCARRY BRIDGE – Far better horse over Fences. Recent form figures read 4212 in a Grade A, 2 X Grade B and a Novice Chase. Seems quite versatile in terms of trip running 4th in a hot 2m5f Grade A behind Woodland Opera, Arbre De Vie & Balko Des Flos. Won a Grade B Handicap Chase at 2m2f and running 2nd in the other Grade B Handicap over 3m, where he had Jetstream Jack and Retour En France well beaten behind. 129 still seems a very workable mark and although he may like some ease he is versatile. Donagh Meyler takes off a valuable 3lbs.
8 ARANHILL CHIEF – Won the Connacht National in both 2015 & 2016 off 117 and 123. But was bitterly disappointing in the Munster National and then Unseated Rider on his last start in a race won by Hash Brown. Entitled to need this after 6 month lay-off and off a tough mark. Kevin Sexton takes the ride.
9 BASHFUL BEAUTY – Quite an interesting runner for the ultra shrewd Johnny Feane. A far better chaser than hurdler and this his first Chase start for the Feane yard after 6 spins over Hurdles. Showed some spark the last twice to take the third spot on both occasions over much shorter trips than today. Very interesting that the trainers goes for the step-up in trip in a tough race. Any market move would be well worth a second look. Sean Flanagan is also an eye-catching booking.
10 NET DECOSSE – Took a tried and tested route to Willie Mullins’ yard when snapped up for Gigginstown having raced twice in France and ran with credit on both occasions, winning once. But aimed high early and limitations were exposed over Hurdles at both Graded and Listed level. Moved from Mullins to Noel Meade after the infamous Gigginstown Split but it has been a similar story Chasing,won a Beginners’ Chase and ran 5th in the Feltham in 2015 before leaving Mullins. Pulled up off a mark of 129 in a Grade B handicap but the handicapper has loosened his grip in recent months and signs of the ability that Mullins & co. identified were on show last time out when he finished a short head second to Swantykay, giving that one 12lbs. Up 3lbs for that but looks on the improve.
11 RETOUR EN FRANCE – The choice of Ruby Walsh who may seek to make plenty of use of her. Weighted to reverse form with some she has bumped into in the past, beaten 8 lengths getting 1 lb off Definite Ruby last time out, now receiving 8lbs. Has work to do with Jetstream Jack on ratings but a useful round of jumping could put the pressure on that one.
12 WHATAREUDOINGTOME – Off a very light weight today and proved well able to win a big one beating the same owner’s White Arm by 5 lengths under Niall Madden over a marathon 3m6f distance at Punchestown last month. Unseated ride at 5 out when making headway next time out just 2 weeks ago off a 9lbs higher mark than when winner at Punchestown. 120 could still be within his grasp and connections seem to think he can win again quickly. An interesting runner and yet another to watch for in the market.
13 LOVE RORY – Looks to be outclassed here and may be more at home in Cross-Country race for Enda Bolger who excels in that field. Has spent most of his time racing over extreme distances, the pick of those performances coming in the La Touche Cup where he was still well beaten. Plenty of risks attached but Jody McGarvey takes the spin which is a positive.