12:50 MAIDEN HURDLE 2m
Unless he gets a few furlongs headstart Our Sox (11/1) won’t be good enough. Silver Concorde, barring an accident, will collect. Would you fancy Shaneshill and Black Hercules in this race? Of course, but Silver Concorde beat those horses at Cheltenham. As for Our Sox? I hope he runs better than the last day but even if it does, the very best you could hope for is a place chance.
13:20 PADDY POWER DIAL-A-BET CHASE 2m 1f (Grade One)
It was something in the back of Willie’s mind to give this a go, with Ballycasey (2/1) dropping in trip. He has won a 2m 1f beginner’s chase. But he didn’t stay in the RSA, having said that, I rode him prominently. He has beaten Carlingford Lock and Don Cossack over 2m 5f at Leopardstown.
People will argue it’s a weak division but this is a competitive race, even if some of the horses aren’t getting any younger. But Ballycasey, Bright New Dawn and Uxizandre are three second season novices and the winner will come from the three of these.
There’s a lot of pace in this race, and stamina will also come into the equation. If it does, I can see myself and Ballycasey coming home quicker than the rest.
13:50 PADDY POWER NOVICE HURDLE 2m (Grade One)
Nichols Canyon is plenty short (despite being unbeaten and a Grade One winner) but the real improver could be another Willie Mullins horse Mckinley, who’s gotten better with each race since an abysmal start. He’ll run better than people think. However, John Gosden assures us Nichols Canyon stays and can go on testing ground. If he improves from that weak Grade One at Fairyhouse he can collect again.
14:20 HANDICAP HURDLE 2m
Busted Tycoon (500 days off the track) will encounter very different ground to her winning week at Galway. I don’t know if she’ll handle winter ground at Leopardstown. She’s well handicapped but will she, won’t she?
14:55 PADDY POWER CHASE 3m 100 yards (Grade One)
Abbey Lane (under Paul Townend today) was poor at Navan. He’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde horse. He did win a hurdle here so maybe Leopardstown suits him. I actually think Dogora ran a lot better than his finishing place suggested in the Troytown. Four from home, I thought he’d a real good shout of winning, and he just got tired going into the straight on his first run of the season. Although that could happen again, there is a big handicap in him off this mark. Whether that is today or another day, I don’t know. If not today, he might be one for the Leopardstown Chase later in the season.
Having said that, this is the most competitive handicap chase in England or Ireland all season. A full field. A huge pot. You need a bit of luck. It’s a prize everyone has their eye on. Dad (Ted) really fancies Foxrock. Colbert Station is a past winner of it. My Murphy will run a good race, the ground will really suit him. AP could be on the wrong horse (Groody Hill). I have a preference for the horse Mark Walsh rides (The Westerner Boy) and with 10 7lbs on his back, he could be the won we all have to beat.
15:30 NAT HUNT FLAT
As a jump jockey, you don’t often get to say “I rode his father” but I can say that after riding Nickname to multiple wins here at Leopardstown. This son of Nickname is not as flashy at home but the one time I rode him he seemed to find something every time I asked. When it gets to the last few furlongs on heavy ground, he can find more. For a Willie Mullins bumper horse at a reasonable price, I wouldn’t put anyone off it.