Footpad has been nothing but impressive since reverting to the larger obstacles winning his beginners chase at Navan and backing up at Christmas when making short work of the smart Death Duty, albeit he was running over trip far too short. At 4/7 he makes little appeal as a betting proposition. An argument can be made that with less than six weeks to his main target at Cheltenham, Willie will leave a little bit to work on. While clearly the most likely winner this race has been known to throw up surprises with only four favourites in the last ten years prevailing.
Petit Mouchoir makes his comeback from a slight injury in October, he has the form to get involved here but the horse is very hard on him-self and will be very fresh in what is basically his seasonal reappearance. I would be amazed if he is not too keen and pushes the pace too much from the front. The form of his chase win is not up to much. Of the beaten horses that day, there have been thirty four runs and with only nine placing and remarkably, no wins.
The field is likely to cut up and have less than eight runners but the below are almost certain runners.
A big strapping chaser who won with authority at Fairyhouse last time out, Pat Fahy has had his issues with this son of Flemensfirth but no doubt he has potential and in the same ownership as top class Morning Assembly, the trainer appears to have another good one on his hands. He is lightly races after some minor injuries early in his career and because of that is unexposed. The way he won the last day suggests there is more to come to me. He looked beaten at one stage after an error four from home but picked up to win by a comfortable seven lengths.
The second string for the current Champion Trainer Willie Mullins was given a peach at Naas the last day. He didn’t look like getting to the leader but eventually stayed to win relatively comfortably. That day he was very novice over his fences and with natural improvement from his first start on these shores looks likely to be involved.
Castlegrace Paddy .5pt Win @12/1 Paddy Power, Boyles and general.
Demi Sang .5pt Win @ 16/1 Paddy Power, Betfair and Boyles