Quite a few can be thrown out here on account of the bottomless ground (Shantou Flyer and Peregrine Run the two most notably likely sufferers), but the conditions shouldn’t count against ROGUE ANGEL (best price 8-1) and SNOW FALCON (best price 7-1) and they are taken against the field.
The former hasn’t been in the same form that saw him take this prize back in 2015 for quite some, but the signs were encouraging enough at Kilbeggan last time that Gordon Elliot may just be able to get the old boy to peak just one more time. Having his first start since leaving Mouse Morris, the son of Presenting looked like he was going to defy an absence of 83 days when taking up the running some way from home in the Midland National at the Westmeath track, but unfortunately he succumbed to the later thrust of the fitter Timiyan on the run to the line.
Still, that was a much better effort by the 10-year-old and let’s not forget it wasn’t that far into the dim and distant past that he was also capturing an Irish National. Best when allowed to stride on at the head of affairs, those tactics can often be employed to good effect around a track where the fences come up at funny points on the course and with the girl-of-moment, Rachel Blackmore, on board, the combination seem likely to make the most of their feather weight on ground that he will enjoy more than most.
The latter brings a touch of class to the table and having run an extraordinary race to finish fourth in the Galway Plate last time, Noel Meade’s charge is a must for any shortlist. A bad mistake at the sixth knocked the eight-year-old right towards the back of the field and even with half a mile to run, he was still way off the pace with seemingly no hope of finishing in the frame.
Remarkably, however, the son of Presenting somehow managed to drag himself into fourth at the line and that effort is testimony to his quality and powers of determination. A dual Grade 2 winner over hurdles under testing conditions, this lightly-raced and unexposed chaser has the sort of profile that sits alongside many previous winners of this race and with ground to suit and a good record racing left-handed (5-5-17), he’s fancied to play a major role in the outcome.