'Lough' can be the toast of Hennessy for punters
Kiely's inmate can benefit from On His Own's tough schedule to take tomorrow's showpiece race at Leopardstown
There is a top-quality day's racing in Leopardstown tomorrow that dominates the weekend. And while that whole meeting is littered with some top-class performers and exciting prospects, one race stands out. There's no doubt that all eyes will be on the Hennessy tomorrow.
There'll be a lot of talk about On His Own and it's not hard to see why. Willie Mullins has had the winner of this race nine times and Ruby Walsh picked him over Boston Bob which could be seen as a big pointer.
However, he had a tough race last time out where he had a habit of losing ground by jumping to the right. This is too tight a race to get away with something like that in, so I'm going for AP McCoy's mount, Carlingford Lough.
I know John Kiely hasn't had a winner in a while but this is a good horse which won in Punchestown last year and he has youth on his side against On His Own.
Carlingford Lough is nine while On His Own is two years older, which is a worry given the previous winners of this race.
An 11-year-old hasn't won the Hennessy since Beef Or Salmon in 2007, so I think it's nicely set up for Kiely and McCoy.
I hope to get the day off to a winning start with Vercingetorix in the opening race of the day, the Juvenile Hurdle. He really impressed me when we won in Limerick over Christmas and he has come on a good bit since that.
Willie Mullins and Noel Meade have nice horses in that race too but I wouldn't pick anyone over my lad in that one.
Noel has a big chance in the second race of the day with Josephine Marcus. She ran well in Navan and has a nice weight here. Add in that she'll like the better ground and I think she'll go very close in what is admittedly a very open race.
The Deloitte Novice Hurdle sees McCoy on Alvisio Ville and this is my nap of the day. Everyone could see how impressive he was on Stephen's Day in Leopardstown and anything like that sort of form will be enough here.
Valseur Lido is my choice in the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase. He beat another good horse in this race by eight lengths in the Drinmore and there's no reason he can't do that again. Pulled Mussel offers a bit of each-way value in the two-mile handicap hurdle at 3.15, while in the bumper keep an eye on Archive.
I saw him in Gordon Elliott's yard and he is a lovely horse which ran really well in defeat behind Identity Thief in Fairyhouse last November.
There's a couple of good horses running in Naas this afternoon. Vroum Vroum Mag has been very impressive all year and should be a good thing for Willie in the Opera Hat Mares' Chase at 1.55.
I have mentioned Gilt Shadow before in this column and I'm going to tip him again in the beginners' chase at 3.40 as he would have won had he not fallen at the last in Navan.
Gordon likes Space Cadet in the last. He won on St Stephens' Day so should oblige again in the bumper.
There's also a few big races in Newbury that are worth taking a look at.
The Grade Two chase at 3.0 should see Sire De Grugy come up trumps. Unioniste is good enough to win the Denman Chase which precedes that race.
And finally, keep an eye on Pine Creek in the big hurdle. He was second in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Christmas and should have enough to secure the honours here.
1.55 Vroum Vroum Mag
3.40 Gilt Shadow
4.45 Space Cadet
3.0 Sire De Grugy
3.35 Pine Creek
1.45 Josephine Marcus
2.15 Alvisio Ville (Nap)
2.45 Valseur Lido
3.15 Pulled Muscle
3.50 Carlingford Lough