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Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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Leopardstown 5th February

We have three in the Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle over 2m 1f. Braganza (Sean O’Keeffe) didn’t jump well when finishing a long way off Gaelic Warrior at Clonmel last month. She needs to improve a lot to figure here. Historique Reconce (Paul) won a maiden at Tramore last August and we would be pleased if she manages to get into the frame today. Risk Belle (Mark Walsh) could be on a nice mark for her first run in a handicap. Her two previous runs for us were in graded races and we think that the drop to handicap company today will ensure she’s very competitive.

We run five in the 2m 4f Grade 1 Novice Chase. Adamantly Chosen (Brian Hayes) would prefer better ground. Paul has decided to ride Gaillard Du Mesnil who was a grade one winner here at Christmas. He is in good form but might find it difficult to reverse with Mighty Potter who beat him in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse. We are going to change tactics with I Am Maximus (Danny) today and hopefully that will bring about improvement. James du Berlais (Daryl Jacob) was very impressive when winning on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse. With that experience under his belt he should run a big race here. Kilcruit (Sean O’Keeffe) is a course winner and will like this trip.

We have two runners in the Grade 1 Dublin Chase over 2 miles. Blue Lord (Paul) was brilliant when winning over this course and distance at Christmas. We’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t follow up today.  Gentleman de Mee (Mark Walsh) might prefer better ground and would need to find a lot of improvement if he is to trouble Blue Lord.

We have three declared for the Grade A Handicap Chase over 2m 5f. Ciel De Neige (Kieran Callaghan) has to shoulder top weight but his rider’s 7lb claim will be a help. Egality Mans (Danny) was very disappointing in the Thyestes last time and drops back in trip today. We’ll be happy if he runs well. Rambranlt’jac (Brian Hayes) has a handy racing weight but would probably prefer further.

We run two in the Irish Champion Hurdle over 2 miles. State Man (Paul) beat Vauban (Danny) comprehensively in the Matheson here at Christmas and should confirm that form again here. Both horses have been in good form at home since and hopefully one of them will do the business today.

We run three in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over 2 miles. Dark Raven (Daryl Jacob) was very good when winning over this course and distance at Christmas but faces a tougher task here. Facile Vega (Paul) continues to impress both at home and on the racecourse. He looks rock solid here. Il Etait Temps (Danny) has a lot of ability. He was second to Facile Vega at Christmas and could be the one to follow him home again today.

We have two in the Grade B Handicap Hurdle over 2 miles. Gaelic Warrior (Paul) has to give weight away all round but we think he’s up to the task. We think he’ll be hard to beat. Tax For Max (Daryl Jacob) is not the easiest ride and is not really suited by big fields so we will just have to see how he gets on here.

We run two in the Mares Winners Bumper. Fancy Girl (Jody Townend) won nicely on her first run for us at Cork last month and she has been pleasing us at home since. We expect her to run a big race today. Patrick rode Fun Fun Fun (Patrick) when she won very easily on her debut at Sligo in October and he thinks she will go close here. There mightn’t be much between our two at the finish.

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