2.35: ESCARTEFIGUE is attemping a rare feat - to win at the fixture for the third consecutive year after being beaten at the Cheltenham Festival. He obviously enjoys these tight turns - he beat Simply Dashing by nine lengths in the corresponding race 12 months ago - and his Leopardstown second to Florida Pearl showed him to be as good as ever. His performance in the Gold Cup was not half as exciting as that by his stablemate Go Ballistic, but on the plus side he was not forced into a slog. Go Ballistic will have to return fresh after that battle with See More Business and takes this option rather than contesting the Grand National. Majadou enters new territory after running away with the Mildmay Of Flete Chase over five furlongs less at Cheltenham. His stamina has to be taken on trust so he rates a risky proposition.
3.10: With two wins already over Tresor De Mai, Flagship Uberalles will have a strong following to confirm superiority in this tight little affair. But the race is far from being a walkover for the Arkle Trophy winner even though he meets the Cheltenham runner-up on identical weight terms. The interesting runner who could pop up fresh and surprise is DAWN LEADER, who just failed by a short-head against Fataliste in the opening hurdle race on the card 12 months ago. He is progressing well over fences and can collect another top prize for Jim Old following Sir Talbot in the County Hurdle.
3.45: While no youngster himself, this could be a case of Elegant Lord against the has-beens. Runner-up in this race last year and at Cheltenham last month, he has a first-rate chance of going one better on recent form, but his morning price reflects that and he may well face a tough opponent in MELY MOSS. Sidelined with leg trouble for over two years, but still only eight years old, Mely Moss used to be a horse of comparable ability to Elegant Lord and his trainer has had this race as the target for him all season.
4.20: The Triumph Hurdle third and seventh, Afarad and Simply Gifted, would both have strong claims here in most renewals, but this is no ordinary year as they have to take on an outstanding juvenile in HORS LA LOI III. Unbeaten in four starts so far, and the Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner by 17 lengths, Hors La Loi is most unlikely to suffer his first defeat here today.Reuse content