It’s a very good race. With the exception of Dessie McDonagh’s horse who won at Leopardstown at Christmas they’re the best four-year olds around. Kalkir was a bit disappointing at Christmas, he was very good at Fairyhouse. Vercingetorix won very well at Limerick over Christmas. Chatham House Rules beat Petite Parisienne at Punchestown but I very easily think Petite Parisienne will overturn that form. Officieux went a very good gallop when he won at Fairyhouse. It’ll be a very competitive race but Kalkir is in very good form and I’m hoping he can collect.
Both McKinley and Nicholas Canyon are grade one winners, Sempre Medici was a good second in Kempton on St Stephen’s Days and Alvisio Ville won his maiden hurdle that day. If we were having this race at home Alvisio Ville would win, he’s the best work horse of them. He’s in really good form, he’s a fine big horse who jumps brilliantly. If you were going on home work he’s the one you’d be riding. McKinley was good at Naas when he bounced back from pulling up a Leopardstown quite quickly. He stayed really well to win that race but maybe 2-2 might be a bit sharp for him. Nicholas Canyon unseated me the last day. He won a Grade 1 but I think it was a pretty weak Grade 1 so he has to improve a little bit. Sempre Medici similarly has to improve on his jumping, which wasn’t great in Cork and was pretty average in Kempton as well. If he could jump better he’d run a big race. If you were giving me the choice of Willie Mullins’ four horses I’d probably ride Alvisio Ville.
Looking at this race it’s very hard to fancy Draycott Place but every other horse in the race on their best day would have a good chance of winning. It’s a very competitive race. The Tullow Tank is probably the one who hasn’t lived up to his promise as a novice hurdler. Adriana Des Mottes was going to finish second to Gilgamboa at Limerick when she unseated at the last and remounted to finish sixth. She only has 10’7, she loves the trip, she loves the ground and around 9/1 looks a great each-way bet.
Foxrock definitely improved from his run in the Paddy Power to win the Leopardstown Chase the last day. He’ll have to improve again to win today but he is only a seven year old, the youngest horse in the field so he’s the one who is open to the most improvement.
Lord Windermere is the Gold Cup winner so sets the standard but often hasn’t been at his best at Leopardstown. He seems to be a better horse at Cheltenham. Texas Jack I think will struggle with the trip. First Lieutenant hasn’t been at his best this season so will need to recapture his form. Carlingford Lough doesn’t have to improve very much, he had a blinding run in the Lexus. Boston Bob was fourth in the Lexus, only a couple of lengths behind On His Own. I’m riding On His Own today, who is really good form and I’m hoping he’ll put up a bold show but there are some improvers in there to be wary of. Foxrock, Carlingford Lough and even possibly Home Farm.