Quevega worth waiting for
PATIENCE is a virtue and if punters can hold off until the final race on today's card, Quevega can deliver for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.
The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle was won by the six-year-old 12 months ago and, despite a slight drift in the market, they can win for the second successive time and should see off the next best in the field, Voler La Vedette.
Dunguib is expected to strike an early blow for the punters against the bookies in the opening race, the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and while I agree that he's the one to beat, I'm not sure how much value he represents at his price. Worries about his jumping after his Leopardstown performance should be set aside as I believe he just needed to settle because he can be keen in running. If he gets a clear run, he's going to be very hard to stop.
But perhaps the smarter money will go with AP McCoy's mount, Get Me Out Of Here. I can't see him being out of the first three, given that he has some handicap hurdle experience. He also beat a decent field in the Totesport Trophy at Newbury last month and should secure at least a place.
Captain Cee Bee has been installed as favourite for the Irish Independent Arkle and his recent performances justify that tag. His fall at Leopardstown in December is only a minor concern because he just didn't get his front feet out and he showed how good he can be when he won impressively in Naas a few weeks back.
Elsewhere in the field, Somersby is a decent horse which did well when winning at Sandown last time and was third in the Supreme Novices last year. I have a feeling that Henrietta Knight will have him just right for this one.
I ride Offshore Account in the William Hill Trophy and we're looking for a big improvement out of him when he gets to run on the drying ground. He was a decent novice but has been dogged by injury in recent seasons and can improve on his last few outings on the better ground.
But I'm going to plump for Bensalem for the win in what is a very open race. He's a solid novice chaser and looks well enough handicapped to get Alan King off the mark for the festival.
The market for the Champion Hurdle looks like an accurate reflection of the race but I'm going to plump for another of King's inmates in Medermit.
The six-year-old was narrowly beaten by Go Native last year in the Supreme Novices after making a mistake at the last, which shows he likes the track.
More recently, he came third behind Kyber Kim in December which was a significant performance because King's horses weren't running too well at the time and when the yard came back to form, Medermit did too by beating Punjabi last time out.
JP McManus' Binocular will attract a lot of attention but he has had an interrupted preparation and that might hamper him.
With five in the field, the Cross Country is surely going to be Enda Bolger's race and despite the weight, Garde Champetre is my fancy. L'Ami will be expected to challenge as he carries less than his stablemate but Nina Carberry's mount seems to save his best for Prestbury Park.
1.30 Get Me Out Of Here EW
4.00 Garde Champetre
4.40 Quevega NAP
Who is your sportstar of the year?
Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.
Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.