BUDDY RICH (Willie Farrell) A debut staying on second to Gordon Elliott/Gigginstown hot pot Sometime Soon in a Fairyhouse bumper. Not beaten far and clearly has plenty of scope.
CAREFULLY SELECTED (Willie Mullins) This former Ted Walsh trained point to pointer has joined the stables formidable Champion Bumper squad with a comfortable win at Naas. A notable performance as he was dropping down from the two and a half mile trip that he won over at Leopardstown at Christmas. That proven stamina should stand to him on the Cotswolds, but I suspect there are sharper stablemates travelling for the same race. Nonetheless a nice prospect and certainly one for the notebook. The owner loves to win at the Punchestown Festival.
DOCTOR PHOENIX (Gordon Elliott) Has been transformed since joining the Elliott stable and continued to climb the ratings with a runaway success in what had looked a hot contest at Naas. Interestingly, his UK owners are not thinking of Cheltenham, but want him to stay in Ireland to help Gordon’s efforts to win the Trainers Championship for the first time. The Webster Cup at Navan has been mentioned as the next likely target.
MITCHOUKA (Gordon Elliott) He won as we would expect last Saturday in what was, for him, an egg and spooner at Fairyhouse a track he loves. His trainer is starting to warm to him at last – as well he might after four victories already this season! – and the Fred Winter looks the best Cheltenham option. Certainly he’d travel sweetly and arrive at the business end primed and full of running – but that famous uphill finish could pose problems.
PAPER LANTERN (Karl Thornton) A close up third in a three miler and a 2 lbs. rise won’t stop him over a similar trip next time. What is particularly encouraging is that he is better on nicer ground so there should be plenty of opportunities in the months ahead. His trainer is based near Dublin Airport and has an impressive strike rate.
PRESS CONFERENCE (Jessica Harrington) A nice debut second to the already proven Carefully Selected and this point to point winner clearly has plenty of potential. It would be no surprise to see him score in a similar contest at the Fairyhouse or Punchestown Festivals.
SPEAK EASY (Joseph O’Brien) Dropping down to two miles in a classy event proved a bridge too far, and we might not see the best of this J P McManus owned runner until he appears in handicap company at one of the Festivals. Either way must go back up to two and a half miles.
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