2.00: His Song was beaten a length and a half by Istabraq in the Irish Champion Hurdle, but across the water there is confidence too in Archive Footage and French Ballerina. The last-named could be Ireland's best value. Foundry Lane has solid claims, though Mary Reveley's runners have had a thin time here. Zaralaska looked high class when winning on his hurdles debut at Ascot in November and on that form would win today. Gary Moore's hurdlers are running well and SHAHRUR (available at 33-1) is capable of delivering a strong late challenge. He saw too much daylight at Kempton last time.
2.35: Edelweis Du Moulin has yet to beat quality opposition over fences but must be feared after winning all four outings this season. Ex-French Champleve was not foot perfect over Ascot's obstacles last time but is still a major player here. Wade Road is talented but prefers right-handed tracks. Kadastrof, a powerful front-runner, will draw the sting from most of today's rivals. But the statistics show that all his 12 victories over jumps have been on tracks with a level run-in. Hill Society will like the drying ground and this one's latest unplaced run can be ignored. QUEEN OF SPADES is best going left-handed and has shown her best form on this, her local track. Her mares' allowance can enable her to reverse Warwick form with Lake Kariba.
3.15: Istabraq is sure to be heavily backed to end a long losing run in this event for Irish-trained runners (since Dawn Run in 1984). Favourites also have a poor recent record, so the value looks elsewhere. Cadougold, and Red Blazer have place prospects at enticingly long odds. I'm Supposin spreadeagled the opposition at Wincanton last time and hails from the bang-in-form Richard Rowe stable. Richard Dunwoody's mount is the one to be on if the ground dries out. DATO STAR, in contrast, is a mud-lover who was very impressive at Haydock last time. He will be a formidable force here as long as the turf stays on the soft side.
3.55: EVEN FLOW was a wide-margin winner at Kempton, for which he was raised 10lb, and had a harder-fought victory at Haydock, for which he went up the handicap a further 7lb. Both those races were over five furlongs shorter than this afternoon's trip, but the opposition looks beatable and his trainer is adamant that his lightly raced nine-year-old will stay this distance. The proven stamina of Tell The Nipper makes Conor O'Dwyer's mount the main danger.Reuse content