This 14:30 Leopardstown race, formerly known as the Dr P J Moriarty Novices Chases, is a 2-mile 5-furlong grade 1 bringing together a whole host of form-lines that should shed some light on plenty of future races.
It’s also a race that Willie Mullins has trained the winner of 5 times in the last 8 years.
6 runners are set to go to post – so here’s our analysis and tip.
Blair Perrone 16/1
After 5 novice chase runs he is already rated 5lb higher than over hurdles, despite finishing no better than second in any of them. That’s because his last two runs have resulted in second places behind today’s rival Zabana and, more significantly, the highly touted Killutagh Vic. He’s hard to fancy on most form-lines, and his stable aren’t in the best of form either.
Won the second of his two novice chase starts and is rated 139, 1lb lower than his hurdles rating. However, that leaves him with 10lb to find with the top-rated horses, and he looks the Willie Mullins third string on jockey bookings.
Rated 157 over hurdles at his best, but that was down to 149 when he started his chase career at the age of 8. Won the first of his novice chases, and no disgrace in twice finishing behind No More Heroes since. Interesting that his stable’s last two runners have won.
Won both his chase starts so far, and it’s interesting that he’s 2 from 2 over hurdles at Leopardstown. He also put-up his best performance here when beating the likes of Martello Tower, Killultagh Vic, Windsor Park and No More Heroes when winning a 2½ mile hurdle.
Pont Alexandre 7/2
Was a massive gamble for the 2013 Cheltenham Festival where he could only manage third behind the New One and Rule The World, and was out injured after that race until returning to the course in December. Potentially high-class, though current chase form only has him joint top-rated, but a suspicion he might want a longer trip to be seen at his best.
Massively progressive over hurdles when finishing second in last year’s Coral Cup and third in the Punchestown World Hurdle, and looked like he could reach a decent level over fences when beating Blair Perrone on his chasing debut.
Outlander has recorded his best performances at Leopardstown over 2½, and this is likely to be his big target of the season, whilst the connections of stablemate Pont Alexandre may have one eye on Cheltenham.
Outlander @ 3/1 (Paddy Power)