CHAMPION MEETING AT DOWN ROYAL STARTS WITH THE REAL THING: Shamrock reckons on finding some ‘Real’ Cheltenham quality on the opening day of the Champion Chase meeting at Down Royal. Don’t miss the big one on this page tomorrow.
Cheltenham here we come. I seriously think several horses running at Down Royal today – and in tomorrow’s Champion Chase – could make the Festival grade.
Both Dazzling Susie (1.35) and Nora’s Fancy are on the up and up, and two previous winners of this, Megans Joy and Premier Victory, have gone on to run in the Albert Bartlett and the David Nicholson Mares’ Final.
Noras Fancy has improved so much that a 23lb hike in the ratings means she must continue down the novices’ route, as her handicap mark is beginning to look prohibitive.
‘Nora’ might just have the edge on ‘Susie’ today, since she’s in hot form and her opponent is making her seasonal reappearance from a 163-day break.
My next Cheltenham nomination is to take out the winner of the WKD Hurdle (2.05): we’ve had Champion Hurdle material out of this: Jered, Mac’s Joy (second at Cheltenham), Iktitaf and Aitmatov, and Voler La Vedette, the winner two years back, was placed in the David Nicholson.
Oscars Well has already been to the Festival for the Neptune, in which he made a mistake, but Jessica Harrington’s horses are out of form.
Not so Edward O’Grady’s, and the seven times winner, The Real Article, is just that and must rate today’s nap.
But I wonder how far Sabrina Harty’s Kalann will go. The Barathea gelding is pitched in here at four years of age but, remember, it’s only a few weeks to his fifth ‘birthday’ and he is most progressive.
Whatever happens to Oscars Well, Team Harrington will want to see a good first-chase run from The Engineer (3.05), in the beginners’ event the stable won last year with their subsequent RSA winner, Boston’s Angel.
Ipsos Du Berlais (spot him in the 2.35) ran over The Engineer for speed over hurdles at Galway but the Old Vic gelding will be much more at home with these bigger obstacles and, after that recent run, could be the breakthrough the yard is looking for.
NAP: The Real Article (2.05 Down Royal)
NEXT BEST: Noras Fancy (1.35 Down Royal)
EACH WAY: The Engineer (3.05 Down Royal)
DAQ MULTIPLES: Noras Fancy (1.35 Down Royal), The Real Article (2.05 Down Royal), Ipsos Du Berlais (2.35 Down Royal), The Engineer (3.05 Down Royal)
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