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Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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+353 (0) 59 9721786

Leopardstown 5th February

We have three runners in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over 2m 6f. Paul has picked Bronn who won a 2 mile maiden hurdle at Naas last month despite running very green. The form got a great boost when the third horse won at Fairyhouse last week. The extra 6f here will be a huge help. Minella Cocooner (Danny) won a maiden in great style over this trip at Navan in December. He was very free however so we are fitting a hood on him today. He has a definite chance. Whatdeawant is a non-runner.

We have a very good team for the Grade 1 4YO Hurdle over 2 miles. Icare Allen (Mark Walsh) won well over this course and distance at Christmas and we think he will step up to the plate today against these more experienced horses. Il Etait Temps (Danny) is making his hurdling debut. He won an AQPS race in France and is probably a horse for next season. Vauban (Paul) was second on his hurdling debut at Punchestown last month and the form got a huge boost when the winner, Pied Piper, won really well at Cheltenham last weekend. Vadaly (Rachael Blackmore) won a hurdle in France and is having her first start for us here. It will be good to see how she gets on but her lack of experience over Irish hurdles might just catch her out.

We are also well represented in the Grade 1 Arkle Novice Chase over 2m 1f. Paul has elected to ride Blue Lord who has done nothing wrong this season. He gets our vote of confidence here. Haut En Couleurs (Bryan Cooper) and Saint Sam (Rachael Blackmore) both jumped well to win their beginners chases and their juvenile hurdling form gives them good chances here. However, their lack of experience might tell against them.

We have four chances in the 3 mile handicap hurdle. Maze Runner (Jack Foley) won this race last year but has a lot more weight to carry this time. We are putting a line through his run here at Christmas and Jack Foley’s 5lb claim gives him a chance. Authorized Art (Danny) didn’t get the run of the race here last time and he could be good each-way value if things go his way. Dark Voyager (Bryan Cooper) was running well until he made a mistake at the last here at Christmas. He too could be each-way value. Captain Kangaroo (Sean O’Keeffe) has a real racing weight but has been disappointing and is probably best watched.

We have a good hand in the very open renewal of the Irish Gold Cup. Asterion Forlonge (Bryan Cooper) is a course winner here. He ran a huge race and was still in contention when falling at the last in the King George at Kempton. A repeat, albeit with better jumping, would give him a big chance here. Cilaos Emery (Sean O’Keeffe) has never run over this trip but on his best form could have a big each-way shout. Janidil (Mark Walsh) is in good form and his rating gives him a chance. Kemboy (Paul) won this race last year and today’s renewal could be run to suit him again. He loves this track and trip and Paul has given him a good vote of confidence.

Mt Leinster (Paul) goes for the very valuable 2m 1f handicap chase. He is a course winner and was third here last time. He will handle the ground and could be very competitive off this weight.

We have two in the Grade 2 Winners Bumper. Embassy Gardens (Jody Townend) wasn’t impressive when winning a bumper over 2m 4f here at Christmas. Coming back half a mile here might be a help but in any case will know a lot more about him after today. Facile Vega (Patrick) won easily over this course and distance on his debut at Christmas and the second won next time out so the form looks good. He has impressed us on the track and at home. We will find out here if he can go up another grade. We think he can.

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