14:20 Gleesons Butchers Novice Handicap Hurdle

This handicap looks very open, and while the market will focus on some of the more powerful yards, I suspect there will be fancy prices available about Global Fert, who was well held on his most recent start, and languishes at the foot of the weights. There is a lot more to like about Global Fert than his last run, however, and that came just a few days after he bolted up in a handicap at Uttoxeter off a BHA rating of 95, making his revised Turf Club handicap mark of 100 look potentially lenient. It’s easy to conclude that his latest run came too soon after Uttoxeter, and it’s also interesting that he has joined Tom Gibney from Noel Kelly. Gibney is no stranger to success at this fixture, having saddled Lion Na Bearnai to spring a shock in the Grand National a few years ago. There are obvious risks with backing a horse with this profile, but there are positives to glean for those willing to give him a second look, and his odds should be generous.

Tip: Back Global Fert e/w 


15:20 Underwriting Exchange Novice Hurdle

I must admit that I haven’t always been a fan of Blow By Blow (I may have attempted to popularise the name Slow By Slow, for instance), but he made a mockery of such comments when an impressive winner of the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival. Despite that win, however, I think he still has limitations, and he was the benefactor of a superb front-running ride by Donagh Myler. I much prefer to side with Duc de Genievres here, despite the fact that he finished behind stablemate Scarpeta in the Ballymore at Cheltenham. The tempo of the race counted against the tactics deployed on Duc de Genievres at Cheltenham, and I would be fairly confident that he could turn the form around. That race at the Martin Pipe are run over similar trips (albeit on different courses), but the Ballymore has much more depth to it, and produced a considerably more solid time in context.

Tip: Back Duc de Genievres (NB) 


15:55 Boylesports Novice Handicap Chase

Bon Papa is an intriguing handicap runner for Willie Mullins, especially as he has been given ample opportunity in Grade 1 events, showing the regard in which he’s held at Closutton. Despite being campaigned at up to three miles, he’s never convinced as a stayer, and is actually unbeaten at this trip. The drop back to the minimum and the opportunity to take on lower-class opposition should prove a catalyst for a return to form for the son of Network.

Tip: Back Bon Papa 


16:30 Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase

Nine runners, but only two trainers represented, and that will reinforce criticism of the current situation in Ireland where the big players are dominant. On the other hand, it should be welcomed that both Mullins and Elliott are happy to field a number of high-class novices in a race which will be a huge draw in consequence. Shattered Love had been underestimated by many until a decisive win in the JLT at Cheltenham, and she would have won very easily but for a rare error at the last and a brief flirtation with the racecourse exit on the run-in. She would be my pick at level weights and the much-debated mares’ allowance gives her a massive edge here.

Tip: Back Shattered Love (Nap) 

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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