12:40 Ange D’Or Javilex & Kayf Thou
Ange D’Or Javilex came back from a long absence in November but he has struggled in three runs since then and pulled up at Limerick a couple of weeks ago when I was hoping first-time cheekpieces might help his cause.
At home he shows that he should still be able to win races but we need to try something different with him so that’s why he now switches to chasing.
His recent form means that he is best watched.
Kayf Thou has struggled to make an impression on his five starts to date and he was well beaten at Down Royal a few weeks ago.
He is probably going to struggle again here and he is a horse who would appreciate softer ground than he has gotten so far this season.
13:15 Ben Dundee, Blow By Blow, Cubomania, Gun Digger and Poli Roi
Ben Dundee looked very good when winning his beginner’s chase over this course and distance a couple of months ago but things haven’t worked out for him in two runs since then.
He took a nasty early fall at Leopardstown last time but he was none the worse for that and I’m still hoping that he can make up into a decent novice chaser.
Hopefully he’ll run a nice race but most important is that he enjoys a confidence boosting clear round of jumping.
Blow By Blow has had a mixed season over fences. He won his beginner’s chase easily and he ran quite well behind Delta Work in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time.
However, he has also struggled in the Drinmore and I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t win a Grade 2 here a couple of months ago.
He’s in good shape and has come out of Leopardstown well but I think at this stage of his career three miles is a better trip for him.
Cubomania has been declared for the Dan Moore at Fairyhouse on Saturday and that race is his main target for the weekend. His run there will determine whether we go again with him here.
Gun Digger is a grand horse who is progressing nicely as a chaser and I was delighted with his recent win at Leopardstown even though he may have been a bit fortunate with Bacardys coming down at the last fence.
He will probably be at his best over three miles but he has decent form at this trip and he is a very good jumper which is a big help too. I’m expecting him to run a nice race.
Poli Roi won nicely first time out over fences but he was quite disappointing back here next time.
The winner got an easy lead that day but I was still disappointed with how Poli Roi’s jumping went to pieces in the closing stages of that race.
He’s been given a nice break since then and he is a horse who probably does like his races well spaced out so hopefully he will bounce back here.
14:50 Felix Desjy and Swordsman
Felix Desjy’s hurdling career hasn’t gone in the direction I hoped it would after he won his maiden hurdle at Galway but I thought that his last run at Limerick was encouraging as he looked to really enjoy himself out in front before not quite getting home over two and a half miles.
He’s going to have to improve again now that he moves up in grade and down in trip but I haven’t given up on this horse – he was a high class sort in bumpers and his work at home suggests that he is still a good horse.
Swordsman, a younger brother of Battleoverdoyen, is coming forward nicely and he is showing us that he could make up into a smart novice hurdler.
He progressed nicely from his first run of the season to win a Fairyhouse maiden in good style at the start of the month and that run suggested he was ready for a step up in class but the shorter trip is a concern for him.
15:20 Song Of Namibia & Vision D’honneur
Song Of Namibia was a useful flat horse for Ger Lyons at his best and I thought that he ran respectably first time out over hurdles at Leopardstown over Christmas.
He was a well-beaten seventh that day but did run better than his final position would suggest and I’m hoping that he will be up to making his mark in a maiden this season.
He should step forward from the form of his Leopardstown run but he is going to have to if he is to get closely involved here.
Vision D’honneur is a nice horse who was showing up well at home before going to Leopardstown over Christmas.
He ran a solid race to finish fourth behind Klassical Dream but I am hoping that he can do better.
He looked green at various stages of the Leopardstown race and was behind the bridle all the way so I’m hoping that experience will have sharpened him up and brought him forward. I’m still hoping that he will be able to make his mark at a decent level this season.