Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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Leopardstown 4th February

Risk Belle (Mark Walsh) runs in the Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle over 2m 2f. She fell in this race last year but comes here off a good run at Christmas. If she puts her best foot forward she should be involved at the business end.

The Grade 1 Ladbrokes Novice Chase is a top class race headed by Gaelic Warrior (Paul). He was outstanding when winning at Limerick over Christmas and if he can replicate that run it could be enough to land this valuable prize. Both Fact To File (Mark Walsh) and Grangeclare West (Patrick) have chances if Gaelic Warrior has trouble going left-handed here.

The Tattersalls Novice Hurdle is another cracking contest. We have been lucky enough to win 9 out of the last 10 runnings and hopefully one of our five runners will add to that tally today. Ballyburn (Paul) looks best of ours on the evidence of his very impressive win here at Christmas. Absurde (Brian Hayes) pulled up here at Christmas but will be better suited by this drier ground. Daddy Long Legs (Patrick) is a decent horse but he blotted his copybook in heavy ground here last time. This ground will be much more to his liking. Gold Dancer (Danny) is having his first run for us. He won over hurdles in France and will come on for the run here. Jit Langy (Mark Walsh) has had a few problems since winning well at Tipperary last May. He is back in good form and looks tremendous each-way value here.

We have a nice team in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Dublin Chase headed by El Fabiolo (Paul). He has done nothing wrong so far over fences and a clear round here should make him very hard to beat. If for some reason he fluffs his lines, last years winner Gentleman De Mee and Dinoblue (Mark Walsh) could both be snapping at his heels. Saint Roi (Jody McGarvey) will find it hard to compete with his three stablemates.

State Man (Paul) leads our team in the Irish Champion Hurdle over 2 miles. He won this race last year and beat Impaire Et Passe (Daryl Jacob) and Echoes In Rain here at Christmas. It’s possible they could finish in the same order here if easy Cheltenham winner Bob Olinger doesn’t upset our game plan.

We have five runners in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase over 2m 5f. Classic Getaway (Danny) was very unlucky when second at Tramore on New Years Day over a slightly longer trip. On the nicer ground here he has every chance. James du Berlais (Paul) ran a cracker here in the Paddy Power Chase at Christmas. Over the shorter trip today he could prove best of ours. Adamantly Chosen (Mikey O’Sullivan) couldn’t handle the heavy ground at Christmas but has an each-way chance on this spring ground. Meetingofthewaters (Brian Hayes) stayed on well to win the Paddy Power Chase here at Christmas but the shorter trip and drier ground here are not ideal. Chavez will be ridden by our top cliaming rider, Kieran Callaghan, who claims a valuable 5lbs. The step up in trip today could be a big advantage.

We have just two runners in the Listed Handicap Hurdle over 2 miles. Bialystok (Paul) had a little break after finishing fourth in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and is coming back fit and well. This ground will suit. We have decided to send Zenta (Jody McGarvey) back over hurdles for the rest of the season. She is a fine mare well up to carrying weight and if she doesn’t jump too big she has every chance of getting into the money.

We have a nice team of four in the Grade 2 Coolmore Mares Bumper. Hopefully Aurora Vega (Patrick) can remain unbeaten but this is a big step up in class for her. Baby Kate (Barry O’Neill) won a listed bumper at Cheltenham in November. She’s been working very well at home but the fact that Patrick has gone for Aurora Vega probably says enough. Charlie Mullins gets the leg up on Femme Magnifique who won her bumper at Thurles. She steps up in class today but won’t be far away. Jody sticks with Fleur Au Fusil who was very impressive at Naas. We’re all keen to see if she can frank that form here.

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