1.30 Favourites have a poor record in this race in recent years so it may be worth looking at some of the alternatives here. Former festival bumper winner Champagne Fever won a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time out. The ground is likely to suit him and his stamina should be an asset in a strongly run race. Un Atout lacks experience but he is unbeaten and may well be open to plenty of improvement. The ground will not be a problem. Jezki beat Champagne Fever at Fairyhouse in December and is another for the short list.
My idea of the first 3 is Champagne Fever, Un Atout, Jezki in that order.
2.05 It is hard to get away from short priced favourite Simonsig and he is my selection.
2.40 Loch Ba looks an improver. He has won two of his last 3 starts and handles any ground. He is the selection with Fruity O’Rooney and Our Mick others to consider.
3.20 Rock on Ruby and Binocular are my two each way selections.
4.00 I will go for Arabella Boy in this. Both trainer and Jockey have a good record in the race.
4.40 Quevega has a fantastic record in the race and should win again. Une Artiste looks next best.
5.15 Ohio Gold is consistent and handles soft ground. Shangani jumps well and is in terrific form. The Druid’s Nephew comes into the reckoning. He was only beaten a nose at Kempton in November and the form of that race has worked out well. Colour Squadron has been aimed at this race. He is the mount of AP McCoy but does tend to make a few jumping errors.
Ohio Gold, Shangani and The Druid’s Nephew are my main fancies.
Picture of Hardy Eustace is courtesy of the artist Sarah Aspinall.