It looks like Willie’s Timi Roli is the one to beat in here but Icario is certainly not without a chance. I only got as far as the first when I was brought down on him at Leopardstown but he shaped pretty well when second to our Dakota Moirette at Punchestown last time. He has obvious each-way chances in this and I wouldn’t rule out him winning.
Battleford looks likely to be suited by the step up in trip and The Storyteller looked good in Down Royal, and they could well fight out the finish. Our two horses only have outside chances at best to judge from the betting but Brightest Flame could do no more than he did when winning at Tramore last time – the first-time blinkers did no harm there and are kept on – and Wishmoor steps back in class after running behind Death Duty in a Grade 2 at Navan. They probably have better chances than their big prices suggest, actually.
Folsom Blue looks to have lost his way but Bilko has definite chances in this handicap hurdle. I have ridden him on his last two starts, and I was a little bit disappointed with him at Leopardstown over Christmas. I think he is better than that and I give him a pretty good chance if he can return to the form of his earlier Fairyhouse third.
You have to respect his three main opponents but Sub Lieutenant looks to have a favourite’s chance in the Kinloch. The merit of his defeat of Lexus winner Outlander in the Belfast Chase earlier in the season is there for all to see and he ran another great race when third to Djakadam in the John Durkan last time. He has won a couple of times around here, conditions look ideal for him, and hopefully he can follow in the footsteps of Don Cossack, who won this race in the last two years. There could well be a battle for the lead here, though, so that will make things interesting from a tactical point of view.
2.50 pm Thurles
We have Monbeg Rose in here. I won on her over hurdles around here last season but she is taking a while to get the hang of fences, and she obviously has it all to do against the likes of Westerner Lady.
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