2-05 DRIBUILD LTD WELSH CHAMPION HURDLE – 2 M 4 F
Racing Pulse received a confidence boosting win in similar ground at Chepstow last time and that was the first time that he had graced the winners’ enclosure in just over two years. That race came over three furlongs further so his stamina is guaranteed in what will be quagmire like conditions. Rebecca Curtis seems to have turned a corner with her runners lately and on what is her local track, this seven year old looks capable of another bold effort.
Silsol carried top weight to record a facile win in this race last year. He looks set to get similar ground this time around and with Jack Sherwood still able to claim five pounds, they have to rate as massive dangers. Deputy Dan seems to have gone an eternity without a win. His last victory came in November 2014 but he has put in solid enough efforts behind Thistlecrack the last twice and a repeat of those efforts should see him right in the mix.
Racing Pulse can make the most of the weight that he receives from the majority of his rivals this afternoon and Sean Bowen takes the ride for the first time. The lightly raced gelding can begin to make up for lost time and he can go close here.
3-00 BETFRED MOBILE HEROES HANDICAP HURDLE (GRADE 3)
Medinas has a decent record first time out so the thirteen and a half month absence is not too much of a concern. He has won at a higher level than this in the past when he took the Long Walk Hurdle at Newbury back in November 2014. William Featherstone is a capable apprentice and takes off seven pounds. Medinas has stamina in abundance and proved that when landing the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in 2013. He is still only relatively lightly raced and has to rate high on any shortlist.
Yala Enki should confirm the form with the likes of Little Boy Boru and Ibis Du Rheu given that there should be plenty more to come from the six year old. Being allowed to dominate from the outset at Kempton last time clearly worked in his favour and if allowed a soft lead yet again he could well prove difficult to peg back. Saddlers Encore was far from disgraced following an eighteen month lay-off at Wincanton last time. That effort is likely to have brought him on in leaps and bound and despite a rise in grade it would be of little surprise to see him be competitive here.
Medinas still has to concede weight all around this afternoon but he has proven that he is as tough as teak in the past. With Alan King sending out winners for fun of late he has to be considered. The ground should not prove an inconvenience and this seems a decent starting point for the nine year old.
3-40 IRISH GOLD CUP – 3 MILES 60 YDS
Carlingford Lough may have needed his first two runs so far this year but much better can be expected today as he attempts to defend his crown. He is a dual course and distance winner who usually comes into his own from this time of year onwards. Mark Walsh is reunited with the ten year old and he has partnered him to four previous wins. Whilst he something to find with the younger Road To Riches, he is talented on his day and given that he has beaten plenty of these in the past he looks to have solid each way prospects.
Road To Riches was an excellent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season and he remains a likeable and progressive sort. Noel Meade produced him to win the Clonmel Gold Cup chase on his seasonal reappearance and if turning up here in the same form, he looks the one that they all have to beat. Like the selection, Road To Riches is a previous course and distance winner and he can enhance his Gold Cup aspirations once again if powering home here. Willie Mullins has won three of the last five renewals of this race but his best chance today would seem to lie with Valseur Lido. Ruby Walsh is undefeated on the seven year old and if fully recuperated from his fall in the King George they too would warrant utmost respect.
Carlingford Lough is usually held up to attack from off a strong pace. Provided that his jumping holds together he looks vastly overpriced compared to some of his rivals and it wouldn’t be the biggest of surprises if he was to be in the shake up this afternoon.
SATURDAY 2-05 FFOS LAS RACING PULSE
SATURDAY 3-00 SANDOWN MEDINAS
SATURDAY 3-40 LEOPARDSTOWN CARLINGFORD LOUGH (E/W)