Oscars Well to benefit from return to longer trip
2.40 Grade Two Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle 2m 4f
The Real Article remains open to further improvement back on better ground, having floundered behind Unaccompanied in the mud at Christmas. However, Oscars Well and Get Me Out Of Here are probably the two to concentrate on.
With three runner-up finishes at the Cheltenham Festival, Jonjo O'Neill's Get Me Out Of Here is very much a nearly horse. In fairness, he appears genuine, and this looks winnable.
Jessica Harrington's Oscars Well is top-rated, but concedes weight all round. Sixth in the Champion Hurdle but just shy of top-class at two miles, he was good over this trip in the last campaign.
Verdict -- The return to a more suitable distance will suit Oscars Well.
3.10 The Irish Field Handicap Hurdle 2m6f
Lord Gale, representing Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, stands out. A Navan bumper winner that has been placed in four hurdles, he will relish this step up in trip and has a low weight.
Marlay Park cantered up under his trainer in a charity race at Limerick last week, while Gowran Park maiden winner Its The Ice I Like makes its handicap bow for Robert Tyner and AP McCoy.
Tyner also saddles One In A Milan, which went down fighting behind Paddy Pub in a decent race at Naas in February.
Dedigout, third to Monksland at the same track previously, is a smart novice that could go close despite his big weight.
Verdict -- One In A Milan is consistent and due a bit of luck.
3.40 Grade Two Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle 2m
While the versatile Jacksonslady deserves respect on her return to hurdling, others have more robust form. Steps To Freedom was well exposed in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, but this will be less taxing.
Allure Of Illusion ran nicely to be sixth in the same race, but Ruby Walsh has overlooked him for Willie Mullins' other runner, Midnight Game.
That Montjeu gelding, just behind Steps To Freedom at Cheltenham, really looked the part in winning twice previously.
Davy Russell, in turn, has opted for Il Fenomeno over Midnight Game. Third to Benefficient in the Deloitte, Noel Meade's runner has a touch of class and scope to improve.
Verdict -- Midnight Game might regain the winning thread with Ruby up.
4.10 Champion Point-to-point Bumper 2m 2f
Teelin Star brings a tall reputation from the point-to-point sphere. In two outings for Pat Hughes, he has demolished the opposition to win unchallenged, leading Colman Sweeney, who has ridden the likes of Denman to victory, to describe him as the best he has ever sat on.
Of the others, Legal Exit, Roque Angel, Torn Asunder and Balnaslow are pointing winners that represent smart stables.
Verdict -- Teelin Star is napped to confirm his immense potential.
5.25 Nina Carberry Novices' Handicap Chase 2m 1f
Dantes King, Swanfold, Friendly Society and Senior Again all bring winning form to the table. Francis Flood's Senior Again is potentially the most progressive of those, and still gets in here off a light weight after receiving a 5lb penalty for scoring at Leopardstown.
Regal D'Estruval, which races close to the pace, returned to form on its preferred good going when second to Slieveardagh at Navan recently. With first-time blinkers on, Jim Culloty's runner could have a big say now under Tom Doyle.
A similar comment applies to Action Master if he happens to be on a going day.
Verdict -- Good ground and blinkers might do the trick for Regal D'Estruval.
5.55 Comfybed Novices' Handicap Chase 2m 6f
On his second fencing start, Paddy The Oscar was an easy winner at Thurles and should improve for that. Pontiac landed a similarly middle-of-the-road beginners' event at Gowran Park, while Shellys Creek is another runner from the Flood stable that catches the eye.
Shane Jackson got a great tune out of that mare to take a handicap the same day at Gowran, so she can't be discounted off a 10lb higher mark today.
Scavenger Lad has yet to win, but he has been placed in two handicaps of late and may have more to give.
Verdict -- The Conor O'Dwyer-trained Scavenger Lad is going the right way.
6.25 William & Gladys Bourke Bumper 2m
Connections have never hidden their high regard for Don Cossack and he did well to reel in a runaway leader at Navan in December to score for a second time.
If he handles this better ground, he will be the one to beat under Nina Carberry.
Sword Of Honour is possibly his biggest threat. A Ballydoyle cast-off, the son of Montjeu lived up to his flashy pedigree by cantering up on his only outing at Killarney in August.
Verdict -- With the ground as it is, Sword Of Honour's pace may prove crucial.