Sport Horse Racing

Friday 23 February 2018

Prince Erik can rule supreme

Thomas Kelly

While there will be attention on the post-race gallops, punters at Leopardstown tomorrow will be keen to return a profit from a card that traditionally throws up a surprise result or two.

With Cheltenham just over a fortnight away, seasoned 'pilgrims' to the Prestbury Park venue will be hoping they can pick up some travelling expenses from the action at the Foxrock venue. And those who follow Prince Erik in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Chase could be rewarded for their investment as Dermot Weld's charge looks a worthy opponent for likely favourite Osirixamix.

The latter was an impressive winner on his chasing debut at Limerick last month when he jumped well and easily pulled away from one of tomorrow's rivals, Healys Bar, once jumping to the front at the second last.

However, Tony Martin's eight-year-old is one of those horses which has never found a lot off the bridle and in this more competitive affair, questions look sure to be asked of Robbie Power's mount.

Prince Erik would probably prefer a couple of furlongs further than the two miles, one furlong, but Gentle Alice is likely to take field along at a decent clip and that should play to his strengths.

Weld's grey had to play second fiddle to Uncle Tom Cobley at Naas last time, but on that occasion, he was giving 9lb to the winner and on level terms this time, Davy Condon's mount merits the day's best bet.

Weld has excellent prospects of a double courtesy of Waaheb in the closing bumper.

This exciting son of Elusive Quality was an effortless winner on his debut at this venue at the start of last month and unless Jessica Harrington's newcomer Jenari is something special, it should be a steering job for Robbie McNamara.

The action starts with a maiden hurdle over two-and-a-half miles, in which the vote goes to Gordon Elliott's Dantes King -- an unlucky loser at Navan earlier this month.

Having travelled well for most of the journey, the six-year-old made a bad blunder at the final flight and then failed to catch winner Sweeney Tunes on the run-in. While the consistent Jetson and Paul Nolan's lightly-raced Westmeath will have supporters, Dantes King is well-equipped to earn compensation for connections.

The Ballsbridge Hurdle is a very tricky puzzle to solve, with several former top-notch hurdlers and chasers bidding to rediscover their best form.

Psycho, Made In Taipan, Beau Michael and Catch Me have all been running over the larger obstacles in recent seasons, and though Pyscho will relish the underfoot conditions, this heat is likely to go to one of the more established hurdlers. Won In The Dark bids to repeat last year's win, but Sabrina Harty's charge has struggled this season on soft ground and this contest could well turn into a battle between 2007 Champion Hurdler Sublimity and Stonemaster from Dessie Hughes' yard.

The latter has been running well behind the likes of Jumbo Rio and Voler La Vedette and while this is a step-down in class, Davy Russell's mount might not have the speed to match Sublimity on the run from the last. Robbie Hennessy's veteran has already won at Cork this season, and despite trailing in last behind Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle, this hold-up performer might find this will suit him.

Got Attitude can give Harrington and in-form Barry Geraghty the spoils in the Carrickmines Handicap Chase.

Irish Independent

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