The noises coming out of the Willie Mullins yard suggest we will see a much-improved show from Chacun Pour Soi in the Grade 1 Dublin Chase at Leopardstown on Saturday. The eight-year-old is 5/4 market leader with BetVictor despite the fact that he has over 3L to make up with A Plus Tard (2/1 at BetVictor) from their C&D clash over the Christmas period. The racecourse executive have shelved plans to water the track with the ground given as soft on Monday morning – although there is little rain forecast for the rest of the week.
Today’s Lingfield card is subject to an 8am inspection and, with that in mind, it might be prudent to begin our preview elsewhere. No problems expected at Gosforth Park Newcastle where the ground was given as soft on Monday.
The form of Fortified Bay’s recent Market Rasen success was given a boost when the runner up -Oscar Wilde – scored at Sedgefield on Sunday. Cast To Ash jumped out to the right – markedly at times – when scoring over C&D from an 8lbs lower mark and I think he is a likely market leader who looks vulnerable.
I hope there is more to come from Glittering Love (3.10) this season and he gets the vote with the return to three miles considered a plus. The selection won all four starts last season over fences and wasn’t out of it when coming down five out here on his reappearance over two-and-a-half-miles. The 8-year-old did not convince with his jumping, made early mistakes before coming down, but the hope is that he will have learnt from his error and I thought he might make up into an Eider Chase prospect this season.
Olly Murphy should know where his Endlessly (2.40) stands with Off The Beat given the latter beat his Adjutant over today’s C&D earlier in the month. That was an improved showing from Sandy Thompson’s six-year-old who was allowed to go off at 25/1 but there didn’t appear to be any fluke about it.
The vote goes to the Murphy runner, however, who landed a small race at Ayr last time despite being a tad too keen. The odds on favourite failed to give his running on that occasion, but I thought Endlessly was well on top at the end and connections have found another winnable looking race today.
Dunly (3.10) has done us a couple of favours in recent weeks and I would be disappointed if he didn’t land his hat-trick despite carrying a 7lbs penalty for last week’s fluent C&D success when he made most although I am not convinced he has to make the running.
Pinch Of Ginger reverts to timber for Donald McCain having won his last couple of starts over the larger obstacles and he can race from a 3lbs lower mark than for his last win this afternoon. Oscar Maguire would have been the selection on better ground but the vote goes to Leverock Lass (3.40) who has gone well for today’s jockey in the past and looks sure to come on for her reappearance when she travelled well but fell in a hole from two out. She should strip fitter this afternoon.
At Down Royal I hope to see Belfast Banter (1.20) put behind a cracking fall at Cork two out earlier in the month when he looked to have the race in safekeeping in his first-time hood. Connections keep the headgear on this afternoon, but he looked an unlucky loser last time and gets the vote for Peter Fahey. Port Stanley looks the obvious danger for Jessica Harrington.
In the valuable Novice Chase, I am prepared to give Diamond Turf (2.50) another chance in his first-time cheek-pieces. The selection has yet to confirm the promise of his Bumper days, but he has only just turned seven and he drops back in trip this afternoon.
In the concluding Bumper Fitness Du Sud will be winning races before long for Willie Mullins but preference is for Hamundarson (4.20) who finished second in what is invariably a hot Leopardstown Bumper on Boxing Day and the third horse home – Good Time Jonny – came across to Musselburgh and landed a nice touch for connections when winning by a long looking 9L earlier in the month.