A number of big names, including Cheltenham Gold Cup
favourite Presenting Percy, are set to clash in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran
Park a week on Saturday.
Pat Kelly’s star has had the Grade 2 event, now worth
€60,000, on his horizon since his impressive success in the Grade 2 John
Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle the County Kilkenny venue last month. He faced plenty of
opposition on that occasion and looks set for another tough test as he goes
back over fences for the first time since his Grade 1 RSA Insurance Novices'
Chase success at the Cheltenham Festival last year.
He will face some serious opposition from the likes of the Willie
Mullins-trained Footpad and Al Boum Photo, while Monalee, runner-up to
Presenting Percy at Cheltenham in March, is set to make the line-up after
missing his engagement at Leopardstown last Sunday.
The JP McManus-owned pair of Anibale Fly and Edwulf, trained
by Tony Martin and Joseph O'Brien respectively, also sat out the Dublin Racing
Festival and they could both reappear at Gowran Park.
At Naas on Saturday, the Listed BBA Ireland Ltd Opera Hat
Mares Chase tops the bill and has attracted eight horses from seven different
yards. Local trainer Ross O’Sullivan has entered the talented Baie Des Iles while
Willie Mullins looks set to call on his easy Limerick winner Pravalaguna while
Gordon Elliott can has two to choose from, Synopsis and Mrs Lovett.
There is also listed action at Punchestown the following
afternoon where the INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle is one of the races
of the day. Jessica Harrington could run Press Conference which accounted for
the well-touted Annamix at Limerick over Christmas while Henry de Bromhead’s
team is made up of the impressive Down Royal maiden hurdle winner Sinoria and
the Tramore scorer Notebook. Gordon Elliott could give the promising Fairyhouse
winner and Cheltenham Festival entry Chosen Mate his second start, while four-time
winner Prince D'Aubrelle looks the pick of three Willie Mullins-trained
A total of 40 horses remain in the €100,000 BoyleSports Grand
National Trial Handicap Chase on the same Punchestown card with the winner of
the feature race gaining a free entry into the Irish Grand National courtesy of
sponsors BoyleSports. Folsom Blue, Isleofhopendreams and Baie Des Iles, the
1-2-3 from last year are all entered again. The latter, which has the option of
running at Naas on Saturday, won this race in 2017 while Folsom Blue also took
the honours in 2014 when trained by Conor O’Dwyer.
Folsom Blue recorded a length and a half success over
Isleofhopendreams in this race last year and is among nine entries for Gordon
Elliott who could also pitch in last season’s BoyleSports Irish Grand National
hero General Principle and the recent Goffs Thyestes Chase runner-up Alpha Des
Tipperary trainer Denis Hogan is hoping to run his classy
mare Youcantcallherthat which enjoyed a tremendous time last season when
winning at Grade 2 and Grade 3 level.
The action on Sunday begins with the P.P. Hogan Memorial
Cross Country Chase where Enda Bolger could field the cross-country specialist
Josies Orders while Willie Mullins has entered the multiple graded race winner