We kick off on Friday with a three-year-old handicap where although Strategic Heights looks to have the best form – he doesn’t win too often. Sors is very consistent but his stall eight draw won’t help. I like the look of bottom-weight DANZ GIFT . It won here last week, trainer Sheila Lavery’s stable is in good form and Wayne Lordan takes over in the saddle.
There’s a pretty ordinary looking Nursery at 6.35pm where Pat Smullen has been booked for the top-rated Nice and Dandy and has a good draw in stall one. However, Andy Oliver’s horses are flying and THE CHAZZ could take advantage of a fair weight concession to lead home the top one home.
It could be a good night for the trainer as his AGENT OF CHAOS looks the best bet on the card in the 7.05pm. He was outclassed in a Group 3 at Leopardstown last time where he was no match for Blue De Vega.
Previously though he was second to Ballydoyle’s Breeders Cup winner Hit It A Bomb at the Curragh. He should be too good here.
The market should be a good guide for Dermot Weld’s Zoravan who was fifth here behind Kadra on debut last month.
Jim Bolger looks to have found an ideal opportunity for McGUIGAN . He’s been a little disappointing until now but can finally get his head in front in the 7.35pm.
There’s a couple in with chances in an open-looking 8.05pm. Twistsandturns is decent but has a tough draw as does National Service. ARTISITC INTEGRITY has been consistent all year and has a nice draw in stall one. If he breaks out he could be hard to catch from the front.
The final two contests on the card are tricky with the apprentice handicap leading off at 8.35pm.
Automated was well backed for the Ger Lyons stable, last time out at Gowran Park. He could be one to keep onside. But Co. Wicklow trainer Prunella Dobbs saw CARRIED finish third behind Moonmeister last week and can progress from that run. Donnacha O’Brien is a good booking.
The finale is a tricky-looking contest but I rode STRONGER THAN ME a couple of times before I quit the saddle and he should appreciate the small field. He comes here in winning form too and could follow up.
A lot of lads I know go over for Cheltenham’s Open meeting and it’s a great spectacle.
I rode Golden Cross to be an agonising second to My Way De Solzen in the 2006 World Hurdle but really just get to follow the bigger jumps races on the box now.
Irish Cavalier strikes me as a good horse who could be going places and has winning form at the track and should go close in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday afternoon.
But at a bit of an each-way price Johnjo O’Neill’s course specialist JOHN’S SPIRIT has been there and done that. A previous winner, he was just caught by Caid Du Beralis last year when going for back-to-back wins and could reward each-way backers again in arace where Paddy is paying the first five home.