2.20 Horse & Jockey Beginners Chase 2m 6f
Max Flamingo, who has been set some stiff tasks since switching to fences, should get off the mark at the seventh attempt. A decent handicap hurdler last term, he appears equally adept over the larger obstacles and ran a huge race when fourth in Grade 1 company over Christmas. A solid run in a big field handicap last time will have brought him along and he looks the most likely winner.
Bacardys was easily the best of these over flights but has thus far failed to replicate that form over fences. He was well behind the Casey horse in the aforementioned race at Christmas and there appears no obvious reason why he should overturn that form.
SELECTION: MAX FLAMINGO
Next best: Bacardys
2.52 Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase (Grade 3) 2m 2f
Ciel De Neige can maintain his perfect record over fences, despite having to concede weight all round. The J.P. McManus-owned chaser has looked a very smart prospect on his first three starts, easily accounting for above-average opposition on each occasion. While this is undoubtedly his biggest test to date, he looks good enough to overcome it.
French Dynamite was a better horse over hurdles but may find this trip a little on the sharp side. Having said that, he always promised to be an exciting horse over fences so if it develops into a test of stamina, he will prove a serious threat.
SELECTION: CIEL DE NIEGE
Next best: French Dynamite
3.27 Duggan Veterinary 4cyte For Horses Handicap Chase 2m 4f 102yds
Crazywork De Vassy is an interesting contender here on his first run for the Noel Glynn yard. The 10-year-old had some fair form on the track two years ago but has not run under rules since December 2020. However, he reappeared in point-to-points last month, finishing second on both starts. While it is difficult to be sure how much ability he retains, he is almost certainly well treated off a mark of 109.
Western Sea, a horse who seems to reserve his best form for this track, should again play a leading role. The Ross O’Sullivan-trained gelding has won here over both hurdles and fences, as well as placing on a couple of further occasions.
SELECTION: CRAZYWORK DE VASSY
Next best: Western Sea
4.02 Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle 1m 7f 116yds
Micro Manage, a high-class flat horse who has been placed on each of his four runs in maidens, can finally get his head in front over flights. The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old would have quite rightly been expected to shed his maiden tag well before now but in his defence, he has come up against a few decent novices in those races. It will be somewhat of a surprise if he doesn’t easily account for these rivals.
Anyonecanhaveitall, making his hurdling debut on his first start for new connections, may be the one to chase the Mullins horse home. Although stamina is his forte, he isn’t short of pace so much will depend on how the son of Nathaniel has taken to hurdling.
SELECTION: MICRO MANAGE
Next best: Anyonecanhaveitall
4.37 Carey Glass Hurdle 2m7f
Gentlemansgame, a horse that many would have expected to see at Cheltenham during the week, can get his season back on track here. A very decent novice hurdler on soft ground last season, he finished second in Grade 1 company twice during that campaign. Although disappointing on both runs this term, he deserves another chance to redeem his reputation.
Unexpected Depth has made solid progress through the handicap ranks in recent seasons and although not as good as Gentlemansgame, he might be meeting that rival at the right time. Any chinks in the Mouse Morris-trained grey will be exploited by the battle-hardened eight-year-old McKiernan runner.
Next best: Unexpected Depth
5.10 Jimmy Neville Memorial Handicap Hurdle 2m 7f
Champ Royal, who would have finished closer on his handicap debut last time but for a mistake at the last, can win. The Colm Murphy-trained six-year-old travelled into that race easily and looked likely to play a big part before getting the final flight all wrong. With the second horse going on to win easily next time out, the form looks strong.
Earths Furies, a winner over fences at Christmas, remains better treated over hurdles. He showed that he was equally adept at the smaller obstacles when winning at Limerick last time.
SELECTION: CHAMP ROYAL
Next best: Earths Furies
5.45 www.thurlesraces.ie (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race 1m 7f 116yds
Cumhacht could represent some value in this finale for the John Kiely/Derek O’Connor combination. The veteran Waterford trainer has few peers when it comes to preparing a bumper horse to win on its debut and this well-bred sort could be another for the popular trainer. With a host of smart siblings in his pedigree, the son of Camacho is bred to be smart.
Petram catches the eye, even if only for the trainer/jockey pairing. While there is nothing in the pedigree to suggest he should be winning this, it could be significant that Johnny Murtagh has booked Patrick Mullins for the ride.
Next best: Petram