It’s been a memorable week for the Irish already having been responsible for half of the 20 winners so far and their good fortune can continue on the final day of the meeting.
The County Hurdle (2.05pm) looks as competitive as ever and it’s impossible to be really confident about any one of the 28 declared runners. That said, I fancied the chances of ALAIVAN before the impressive Coral Cup win by Carlito Brigante. Edward O’Grady’s runner beat him comfortably at Fairyhouse last time and that form now looks rock solid after Wednesday’s win.
If the rain does arrive as expected, then Baby Run will take all the beating in the Foxhunter Chase at 4.00pm. However, you don’t get many back-to-back winners of this race and there is a huge word going around for the Irish runner ON THE FRINGE. Now, the Irish don’t have a great record in this as they tend to target Punchestown with their Hunter chasers. In fact, they have only produced four winners since their first success in this contest back in 1983.
Our selection doesn’t have many miles on the clock and went into many people’s notebooks when recording an impressive win at Leopardstown last month. He is due to be ridden by JT McNamara, arguably the best amateur around, and looks an each-way bet to nothing at 9/2 with William Hill.
Sir Des Champs is supposed to be a ‘machine’ in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle at 4.40pm, but that’s reflected in the price as he is just 9/2 with Paddy Power and Sportingbet. Now this contest has ‘upset’ written all over it and it may well pay to buy SP’s with Sporting Index for both this and the Grand Annual, the final race of the meeting.
If I was to pick one in the Martin Pipe I would probably take a chance on the Alan King trained SHALONE who may well be a lot better than he has shown so far this season. His shrewd trainer has brought him along steadily and this has obviously been the target all season. He can be backed at 12/1 each-way with Victor Chandler and won’t be far away.
Finally, if you are still looking for your first winner of the meeting at 5.15pm, it might be best to give up! Nicky Henderson will be desperate to win the race run in his father’s name and his runners are hugely respected. However, I am going to take a chance on the Tony McCoy ridden SHOREACRES at 9/1 with Paddy Power. He looks one step ahead of the handicapper and has the right man in the saddle.