Tudor City is definitely the one to beat in here but Broken Soul arguably sets the form standard at his best. He certainly wasn’t when we last saw him at Gowran last month and, to be honest, he has been a little disappointing since winning his bumper and chasing home Melon at Leopardstown in January, where he may have been a little flattered. But if he returns to that sort of form then of course he has a winning chance and the better ground may help him, too.
He looks to have a decent chance in what is obviously a very competitive handicap hurdle. He ran a good race for me when seventh in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham and actually races off a 6lb lower mark back in Ireland. I think this decent ground will suit him, too, so you have to give him a fair shout, especially getting the 4yo allowance.
This is clearly a very strong Grade 1 with Willie running four classy horses, the pick of which may be Let’s Dance, and my mare has to bounce back from a very disappointing run in the Neptune. I fancied her to run a big race there but she just didn’t fire at all. But we found a reason for that and the form of her earlier defeat of subsequent Grade 2 winner Forge Meadow here in a Grade 3 over 2m2f is very strong, and hopefully she can return to that level of performance. She is closely matched with Airlie Beach and Let’s Dance on runs earlier in the season and she is a very smart mare if it all clicks. Let’s hope it does.
He did it well on his first start for Gordon at Clonmel last month, winning by a wide margin. That may have flattered him a bit as his main rival at the time fell 2 out, but he looked to be winning anyway. That was clearly a very encouraging performance and I think a mark of 122 is probably fair. It will be very different ground here to what he won on at Clonmel but if he is as effective on it then he clearly is a leading player here.
Road To Respect
Quite obviously, Yorkhill is the one to beat but Road To Respect fully deserves his chance in this company after what he did at Cheltenham, He was a revelation there and we certainly weren’t expecting him to take apart that handicap from a mark of 145. If he makes as big a leap forward again we may just give Yorkhill something to think about here – and I don’t think Willie’s horse is as good going right-handed – but it’s a tough ask and the tempo of the race in this Grade 1 on good ground will be a lot different to Cheltenham. I wouldn’t underestimate him, though, as he did it very easily last month.
He has run two solid races recently and he looks to have sound enough claims on that form in what looks a very competitive and open novice chase. And maybe this better ground will suit him a lot better as well.
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