William Muir is no stranger to laying one out for a race here at Lingfield and especially over this sort of trip today so he may just be set for a bold bid at the winner’s enclosure once again.
The four-year-old Lorelei got off the mark in eye-catching fashion last time out at Wolverhampton over 2miles. That was the 12th time of asking for the horse, but the horse hasn’t been out of the frame in its last four starts since placing more of an emphasis on stamina. The manner of the win last time saw it go straight into the note book following the five length success. Despite a 9lb hike in the weights, the filly looks set for another bold bid. The Lingfield track will not be a problem either as she has run well here previously and with Martin Dwyer back in the saddle being another plus, she gets the nod here.
Gay Kelleway’s runner What A Party looks the main threat to the selection. The horse has not won since 2014 when a dual winner over 7f. Changed days now over this sort of trip, but she has been running consistently well recently making the frame in all of her last four starts and she shaped like this sort of trip is well within her scope. She looks very competitive on form if she gets the trip, and may be the one to chase home the selection.
One who may go well at price is Broughtons Berry. Willie Musson’s charge was seventh out of 13 last time over 16f, but was doing her best work late in the day and so she holds each way claims with the Champion Jockey Sylvestre De Sousa booked in the saddle.
This valuable 2m handicap won’t take a lot of winning and so it looks setup for Jessica Harrington’s Rock The World. The 8-year-old novice chaser was progressive early on in the season on this type of ground with two wins and three placed efforts before running from a break to claim third in the Grand Annual chase at Cheltenham. That form looks rock solid in this field and with the stable already being in the winners at the festival, the signs all point to another positive run in this one and he may take some stopping so gets the confident nod at an attractive price. One concern for the selection is the tailed off run behind the ill-fated Arzal in the Manifesto Novices chase at Aintree three weeks ago, but the horse wasn’t given a hard time once the race was gone that day and he can get compensation today at a track where he has previous winning course and distance form.
Henry De Bromhead’s runners are always to be feared at Punchestown and it is no different today with his top weight Days Hotel. The horse came back from serious injury setbacks to win at Naas in a grade 2 back in February proving he has the talent back at this level, but his run last time in conditions company suggests he may find life tough back in handicap company conceding weight all round.
The stable’s other runner Sizing Codelco though rates as the main danger to the selection. The seven year old has the standout form in the race with his second placed effort behind Shaneshill, so there is no questioning his ability, but unseated at the first fence in both of his starts either side of that run. If that hasn’t dented confidence then expect him to give the selection the most to do, but the ground has probably just gone against him.
Rock The World (E/W)
The festival was dealt a blow when the superstar hurdling stayer Thistlecrack pulled out of this one, but that ones loss looks like Alpha Des Obeaux’s gain after a frustrating season for the Mouse Morris. The race now looks like a match up between that one and Wullie Mullins’ Shaneshill. Both horses are closely matched on form after they both chased Thistlecrack home by a seven length margin, but Alpha Des Obeaux gets the credit of the better run at Cheltenham in the world hurdle. Not only was the Mullins horse’s assignment over shorter in the Liverpool Hurdle over 2m4f, it was also on a flatter track at Aintree. Both classy hurdlers also share course form to their name, but again Alpha Des Obeaux probably just shades it on the merit of that form and I think he will get his day today to land the Grade 1 to make up for his five Runner up berths this term.
Mullins and Walsh will clearly not go down without a fight so it could be a decent match up given their treble on day two, but the Mouse Morris yard ain’t exactly struggling at the moment either so I reckon the dual grand national trainer will be back in the winners enclosure here.
The one horse that is interesting at a price is Diamond King. Davie Russell produced a masterclass to time the horses path to Coral Cup glory to perfection with a superb hold up ride and that patient style may just be a big plus here today if the big two have a duel, but he is both up in class and distance so may have to settle for the minor honours.
Alpha Des Obeaux (WIN)