Was a middle-distance winner in the French provinces and ran respectably behind Landofhopeandglory in a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse last month. You would expect that this would be a strong race – Ivanovich Gorbatov won this last season – but he shaped quite well last time and hopefully he would have an each-way chance in his first-time hood. But with Housesofparliament and Sword Fighter in here we could all be playing for places.
A winning pointer who ran okay over this trip when sixth at Navan last month. He ran better than his very modest final position suggested at the same track over 2m7f last time, emptying out after making the running, and the step back to the minimum trip could help him. He clearly needs to improve to even be in the shake-up here, though.
Avenir D’Une Vie
He was a very good bumper horse when trained by Willie last season and he could do no more than he did when beating Aussie Reigns by 5 lengths in a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse on his first start for Henry. This is clearly a big jump into Grade 1 company but at least the runner-up has won since, and this is only his second start over hurdles, after all. This will tell us a lot more about what we have got.
Fire In Soul
He didn’t take to fences as well as we hoped when behind Min at Navan last time but he was a wide-margin winner over hurdles at Ballinrobe in the summer and looks on a fair mark on that form. This is a very competitive race and he meets far more experienced rivals, but against that at least he is lightly-raced and largely unexposed.
He has been in poor form since returning from a summer break, and first-time blinkers didn’t work in the Troytown last month. But at least he has come down 3lb in the weights since Navan, and he would have a chance if coming back to the form of his fourth in the Irish National or his similar placing at Punchestown in April. And he did finish an excellent third off this mark in this race last season. But he does need to show a lot more than he has done of late, that much is obvious.