Saturday 16 February sees Gowran Park stage an important trials day for horses that are likely to take in one or more of the big spring racing festivals, such as Cheltenham, Aintree, Fairyhouse, or Punchestown. So, check out our free tips for the Red Mills Trial Hurdle and the Red Mills Chase.
Red Mills Trial Hurdle (13:50 GMT)
Established in 1990, the Grade 2 Red Mills Trial Hurdle is run over two miles and nine hurdles. For a long time, it was perfectly positioned in the calendar to attract top-class hurdlers that needed a prep race before the Cheltenham Festival and the likes of Hardy Eustace, Solwhit, and Un Des Sceaux have won past renewals.
Unfortunately, the Irish Champion Hurdle being moved to February in 2017 seems to have diluted the field in the last two years. But it is still a great race its own right and a first prize of over €35,000 makes it well worth targeting.
Red Mills Trial Hurdle Trends
Half of the last 10 winners of the Red Mills Trial Hurdle were six-year-olds, with the remainder aged either five, seven, or eight. Weights carried have ranged from as low as 11-1 and as high as 11-12, whilst winners have been rated as low as 136 and as high as 162. Favourites also have a great record in the race with seven of the last 10 favourites winning. The highest SP of any winner in the last decade was 7/1.
Red Mills Trial Hurdle Summary
An interesting renewal of the Red Mills Trial Hurdle with last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas heading the field but he must concede 10lb or more to all his rivals. They include useful looking French recruit Darasso but his two runs in Ireland haven’t suggested he’s crying out for a drop-in-trip to two miles.
That’s why this could be an excellent chance for Forge Meadow to win back-to-back renewals. Her form here last year looked by far the best run of her career, as she beat Identity Thief who went on to finish fourth in the Champion Hurdle on his next start before winning at Aintree.
Red Mills Trial Hurdle Tip:
Forge Meadow @ 4.50 BetVictor, Bet365, Betfair SB, PaddyPower, SkyBet
Red Mills Chase (14:30 GMT)
The Red Mills Chase was also first run in 1990 and carries the same grade two status and level of prize money as the Red Mills Trial Hurdle. However, it takes place over two and a half miles. The most high-profile winner is Our Duke who had won the previous season’s Irish Grand National.
Red Mills Chase Trends
Horses as young as six and as old as 10 have won the Red Mills Chase in the last decade, with all winners burdened with between 11-3 and 11-10. The lowest-rated winner in the last 10 years won off a mark of 143, whilst the highest-rated winner won off a mark of 166. Like the Red Mills Trial Hurdle, it has also been a good race for favourite backers, with six of the last 10 favourites obliging, though there has also been a shock 25/1 winner in that period.
Red Mills Chase Summary
It’s a real shame that Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy was a late-defection but it still leaves us with a high-class quartet of runners that are all rated between 157 and 164.
Monalee deserves to be favourite, as he’s an improving in-form youngster who should be ideally suited by this two and a half miles trip, but it won’t be easy conceding 7lb to both Anibale Fly and Killultagh Vic if either of them is anywhere near the top of their game.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National have always been Anibale Fly’s big targets this season, after placing in both races last year, and connections probably won’t want him to have too hard a race here.
That means this could be an ideal opportunity for the high-class but error-prone Killultagh Vic to get back in the winners’ enclosure. A Cheltenham Festival winner over this sort of trip, it’s interesting that he was also in the lead last time at around this trip when just outstayed by Presenting Percy over three miles. Ruby Walsh also gets on board for the first time in three years and, with the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner, it’s unlikely Walsh would be riding him if he didn’t think he could win.
Red Mills Chase Free Tip:
Killultagh Vic @ 3.75 Bet365, Ladbrokes, WilliamHill, SportPesa, Betway