Bryan Cooper: Hopefully he can get his head in front for the first time since winning his maiden hurdle here on his debut last year
There are two or three in here with a much higher level of form than him but he showed us a lot more when second over 2m2f at Clonmel recently and the step back down to the minimum trip promises to suit. He does need to improve a fair bit to figure at the business end here, though, with the likes of Coeur Joyeux setting a pretty high form standard for a maiden hurdle.
We run two in here. Optimised ran a career-best when fourth at Down Royal a fortnight ago, and hopefully he can continue that progression here. But it looks a trappy little handicap, so he may need to step up again. We also run Monastic, who has been a bit disappointing since showing promise at Fairyhouse in January but at least he has come down a little in the weights. He wouldn’t be out of it if coming back to that early promise.
I have finished second on him the twice I have ridden him so hopefully we can make it third time lucky. One of those starts was in a novice chase over course and distance in December – if he reproduces that form that may be good enough here – and he ran another sound race when finishing runner-up at Down Royal recently. He looks to have another solid chance again, and hopefully he can get his head in front for the first time since winning his maiden hurdle here on his debut last year.
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