Min and Real Steel can underline their quality - Patrick Mullins on today's racing at Leopardstown
Footpad put in a breath-taking round of rapid jumping yesterday, making the fearsome Leopardstown chase course look easier than pulling in Copper Face Jacks.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a novice put in such a spectacular round of steeplechasing at this stage of the season. It was absolutely jaw-dropping, like watching lightning in a bottle.
Black Bow also gutsed out a tough triumph in the bumper for me. He does everything so easy at home that when I really asked him to race it took him a while to understand what I was asking. He will improve.
With the mighty Douvan out, we send Min into the breach today. A tall, leggy 'walk in the park', like Douvan, he has been dubbed 'The Merciless' by some.
He has been beaten only once for us and that was in one of the best Supreme Novices ever run when the since-unbeaten Altior won and they left subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air back in third.
Min may have beat inferior opposition in his reappearance but he beat them further than Isaac Newton could see with a telescope and stands out in this race like a lighthouse in the darkness.
Gordon Elliott sends the Royal Bond winner, Mengali Khan, in search of a second Grade One triumph. He looked hugely impressive in his three wins this winter and will be a tough adversary to defeat. He has already seen off two of our better novices, Stratum and Makitorix, so we are rightly wary of him.
We send four in a bid to stop his march towards the Supreme Novices.
Real Steel is a horse with huge potential and the choice of Paul Townend. He won in Thurles at the expense of a Noel Meade bumper winner where he showed Formula One-like speed when taking a gap on the inside at the home turn before flying through the gears on the descent to the final hurdle.
It's not easy with these lightly-raced novices to know which is best and our other runners all have big chances.
I ride Sharjah which has won twice in Gowran. His last win was like a slow bicycle race most of the way but he sprinted clear of his rivals after the second last.
I believe the better ground - Leopardstown is always drier than anywhere else in the country during the winter - will suit and I expect him to be heavily involved.
Whiskey Sour looks hugely overpriced to me. He put in two super performances in Galway, including when getting a fabulous ride from Aubrey McMahon in the feature amateur handicap for a fairytale win with his father Luke.
He has schooled well at home and, while he is coming off a break, he is one of the smallest horses in the yard and doesn't take much to get fit.
Makitorix nearly fell in the Royal Bond and was pulled up so it is safe to draw a line through that run. His win in Listowel and his work at home say he won't be far away.
We run Polidam and Pleasant Company in the Paddy Power Chase. Polidam put in a huge performance in Navan to defeat Acapella Bourgeois. He disappointed in Punchestown but it is difficult for older French horses to come over and run in handicaps here first time up.
The jumps are different, as is the pace of the race. The handicap he won in Navan was a small field and the only worry is how Polidam will cope with the 30 runners in this race. We think he has more up his sleeve though.
Pleasant Company is another horse which we believe is well handicapped. He jumps great, travels strongly and has big handicap experience. I think there isn't as much between our two as the prices suggest and anyone who wants an each-way bet should look closely at Pleasant Company.
I ride Carefully Selected in the bumper. He is an old-fashioned chaser to look at and he will relish the 2m4f trip.
His name is apt as this race has been his aim for a while. He is very laid-back which is a huge asset in these type of bumpers and I expect a big run.
Real Steel (Leopardstown, 1.50)
Mr Adjudicator (Leopardstown, 12.10)
Carefully Selected (Leop'stown, 3.35)