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Closutton, Bagenalstown, Carlow, Ireland
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Leopardstown 7th February

We have six runners in the Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle over 2m 2f. Paul has decide to ride Dysart Diamond who has a lot of weight after going up 11lbs for her win over 2 miles here at Christmas. The extra two furlongs today won’t be a problem but the likelihood of softer ground is not ideal. Getaway Gorgeous (Brian Hayes) has been off since finishing unplaced at Fairyhouse last November and this wouldn’t be her preferred ground. Ruaille Buaille (Mikey Fogarty) is having her first run in a handicap and she too would prefer better underfoot conditions. Bon Retour (Mark Walsh) will handle the ground but needs to recapture her best form. However, a change of tactics might help her improve. Lady Breffni (Danny) won a 2m 4f maiden at Punchestown last month and will like this ground and the track. Robinnia (Donie McInerney) has a real nice racing weight for her first try in a handicap but she might be better on less demanding ground.

We have three in the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle over 2 miles. Ha D’or (Rachael Blackmore) was third over this course and distance at Christmas and should improve with that experience behind her. Hopefully she will get a share of the prize money. Saint Sam (Danny) might prefer a longer trip but the emphasis on stamina on this ground will suit him. He ran better than his finishing position would suggest here at Christmas and we wouldn’t put anyone off backing him. Youmdor (Paul) was running a big race when falling at the last at Fairyhouse last month. A first time hood here will help and we are expecting him to go close.

We have five in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over 2 miles. Appreciate It (Paul) has a lot going for him here and a reproduction of his course and distance here last time should be good enough. Blue Lord (Bryan Cooper) ran too free when second over 2m 4f at Naas last time and if he settles better over this shorter trip he’ll be competitive. Galopin Des Champs (Mikey Fogarty) pulled up at Limerick at Christmas but he suffered a heart fibrillation so we can draw a line through that run. He will like the ground but could find this a tough assignment. Mr Coldstone (Denis O’Regan) surprised us a little when winning a maiden at Tramore and this is a big step up for him. This is an opportunity to see how good he is. Hook Up (Danny) was second to a very good mare at Fairyhouse and she could easily run into a place again here. Hopefully, Danny will be able to utilise her finishing speed at the right time.

We run six in the Grade B Handicap Hurdle over 3 miles. Paul has picked Koshari who won over 2m 4f at Cork last month after a long lay-off. He should improve from that and the extra trip here won’t be a problem. Dandy Mag (Bryan Cooper) was very good over this course and distance at Christmas and has every chance again today. Low Sun (Robbie Power) was second over 2 miles at Fairyhouse last time and having won the Cesarewitch at Newmarket this trip shouldn’t be a problem. Sayo (Mikey Fogarty) might like a firmer surface but has the ability if back to his best. Downtown Getaway (Danny) is having his first run for us. His UK form wouldn’t suggest he would be an automatic choice here. Maze Runner (Conor McNamara) is interesting off this weight and could play a part if everything goes his way.

We are three-handed in the Grade 1 Novice Chase over 2m 5f. Asterion Forlonge (Patrick) needs to sort out his jumping but has been schooling well at home. He will like the trip and ground. Janidil (Rachael Blackmore) has been in good form at home but needs to dramatically improve his jumping. The trip and ground will be fine for him. Monkfish (Paul) jumps very well and coming back 3 furlongs here won’t be a problem. He sets the standard here and if he brings his A game he will be hard to beat.

We have two in the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup over 3 miles. Kemboy (Danny) was second over this course and distance at Christmas but all the recent rain isn’t in his favour. Melon (Paul) was just behind Kemboy last time but with different tactics today he has a great chance of improving on that form.

We run four in the Grade A Handicap Chase over 2m 5f. Bapaume (Paul) pulled up over hurdles last time but we can ignore that run. On his previous run over fences at Punchestown he has a good chance here. Blazer (Darragh O’Keeffe) has been off the track since running in the Kerry National but will get every assistance from the saddle today. Fan De Blues (Brian Hayes) got into trouble in the Dan Moore last time and ran better than his finishing position would suggest. Livelovelaugh (Danny) was second in this race two years ago when the ground was drier and might find it too soft this time around.

We have five in the Grade 2 Mares Bumper. Brooklynn Glory (Barry O’Neill) surprised us by how easily she won at Listowel and Cork and this big galloping track will play to her strengths. Purple Mountain (Tom Hamilton) is coming here off summer form so the ground is a bit of a worry. Hopefully she might get some black type. Take Tea (Derek O’Connor) won on her debut at Naas in December and the form of that race has worked out well. She will improve on that run and can get seriously involved here. Patrick has picked Brandy Love who was impressive at Fairyhouse and this soft ground will be a big plus for her. A slight worry is that the form of the Fairyhouse race hasn’t worked out too well.  Grangee (Jody Townend) had a nice run at Market Rasen last time where she picked up some valuable black type on ground that she didn’t like. If Jody can find a bit of better ground here who knows what might happen!

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