Saturday 21 September 2019

Classy Footpad can bounce back to best and stop Paddy's progress

Jockey Davy Russell. Photo: Sportsfile
Jockey Davy Russell. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Footpad is the star attraction on a star-studded day at Leopardstown as Willie Mullins' exciting chaser bids to put his best foot forward after parting ways with Ruby Walsh at the last on his seasonal debut.

12.10 Paddy Power 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle 2m

Rarely has there been a more exciting hurdling recruit than Sir Erec, which came within three lengths of long-distance king Stradivarius in an Ascot Grade Two two months ago.

The Camelot colt, rated 109 on the Flat, is reported to have taken to his new task seamlessly and he should take all the beating barring a mishap.

Mullins seeks a hat-trick in this race and Tiger Tap Tap is a danger while Noel Kelly's Bachelor, second at Fairyhouse earlier this month, may squeak a place at a big price.

Verdict: It would be a shock if Sir Erec isn't good enough to take this.

12.40 Paddy Power Beginners Chase 2m1f

Henry De Bromhead is flying at present and holds two aces here with Moon Over Germany and Paloma Blue.

Paloma Blue disappointed on his chasing debut and better will be expected but Moon Over Germany returned after nearly two-and-a-half years off the track with a brilliant third at Punchestown earlier this month and should improve again.

Verdict: Moon Over Germany to score under Davy Russell.

1.15 Grade One Paddy's Rewards Club "Sugar Paddy" Chase 2m1f

Last year's winner Simply Ned always seems to always produce his best at Leopardstown but is an outsider in a cracking renewal.

Footpad was a brilliant Arkle winner and hardly put a foot wrong last season but comes here with questions to answer having misfired at Naas when suffering an overreach injury which required a little bit of time off.

He'll need to be at his best with exuberant stablemate Great Field and Enda Bolger's exciting chaser Ballyoisin among a host of strong contenders while Pat Fahy's progressive Castlegrace Paddy scorched to Grade Two success in the Hilly Way. However, Footpad should reign if showing his best.

Verdict: Footpad is the class act.

1.50 Grade One Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle 2m

The JP McManus-owned Sancta Simona, already a Group Three winner at Down Royal, is very well regarded by Mullins while the Limerick owner has another ace in O'Brien's Triplicate.

Triplicate has the beating of another Mullins runner, Aramon, based on his Royal Bond second while it will be a big step up for Noel Meade's Daly Tiger from his Fairyhouse victory but Sancta Simona could prove the classiest of an impressive bunch.

Verdict: Sancta Simona can continue his upward curve.

2.25 Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle 2m

Ivanovich Gorbatov has tumbled down the weights but it would take a leap of faith to side with O'Brien's out-of-form six-year-old, although few of the 18 runners inspire confidence.

It may pay to side with Mullins' Causey Arch, which had shown plenty of promise before being pulled up in a valuable handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier this month with Tony Martin's Tudor City also respected.

Verdict: Causey Arch is a tentative selection in a tricky affair.

3.0 Grade B Paddy Power Chase 3m 100yds

With McManus saddling ten runners in this €200,000 showpiece, it's difficult to pick the right one let alone try to find the winner of this notoriously competitive handicap.

Meade's De Name Escapes Me has obvious appeal but a 14lb hike may hold him back and it may pay to delve deeper in search of value with Any Second Now ticking a lot of boxes for each-way punters.

Ted Walsh's second-season chaser - still a maiden after seven starts over fences - kept good company as a novice and while a bit frustrating to follow, he has maintained a consistent level of form with further improvement expected as he goes beyond 2m5f for the first time in his career.

Verdict: Any Second Now (e/w) can make the frame once again.

3.30 Paddy Power Games "One For The Road" INH Flat Race 2m4f

Mullins' debutant K'chou Du Pecos AA - a €140,000 purchase by John Magnier - deserves maximum respect and should take all the beating under the trainer's son Patrick.

A market check is advised for Emmet Mullins' newcomer Russian Diamond with crack amateur Derek O'Connor in the plate, while Noel Meade's Cenotice makes most appeal of those with racecourse experience.

Verdict: Stick with the Mullins team and debutant K'chou Du Pecos AA.

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