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Are there any future Grade 1 stars lurking in the line-up this year?

Monbeg Notorious: a good winner at Gowran last time out
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4.00 Navan
Ten Up Novice Chase | G2 | 3m | ATR

Who would have thought that hidden in the haze a long, long way behind Acapella Bourgeois in this race last year was a subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner who has now won a pair of Grade 1s, and the Paddy Power Chase winner.

Indeed, even Irish Gold Cup winner Edwulf lined up here 12 months ago, only to come to grief at the eighth fence. 

Road To Respect, who led home the chasing pack 32 lengths behind Acapella Bourgeois, has since landed the Plate at Cheltenham, the Ryanair Novice Chase at Fairyhouse and the Christmas Chase at Leopardstown. 

Anibale Fly was more than 48 lengths behind Acapella Bourgeois but that did not stop him from scorching clear in the Paddy Power Chase to win by seven lengths off a mark of 148. 

Little did we know at the time it would prove one of the most informative affairs of the entire season. 

Is Notorious the best of Elliott's bunch? 

Gordon Elliott is responsible for 60 per cent of the field and all three of his contenders have realistic claims as just 4lb separates the trio on official ratings. 

Monbeg Notorious is the highest rated with a mark of 150 following his impressive 11-length success in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park on his most recent start. 

Jury Duty (rated 148) and Mossback (146) were upsides at the last in the Grade 3 Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase at Naas last month, only for Mossback to take a crashing fall and the other to begin wobbling. That paved the way for Moulin A Vent to pick up the pieces.

Elliott said: "Monbeg Notorious never shows you much at home but he's seemed fine since his Thyestes win. That was a great performance on ground he enjoyed. He'll be more at home than Jury Duty on this ground I'd imagine. 

"Jury Duty was probably in front for long enough at Naas and got lonely. He's seemed in good form since and Mossback was upsides him at the last when he fell and was running a big race. They both have their chances too in what looks an open and competitive race."

Can Moulin confirm superiority over Jury Duty?

Moulin A Vent hit the maximum price of 999-1 in-running before finding his second wind and gunning down Jury Duty in the aforementioned Naas contest, but can he confirm the form? 

Noel Meade believes a clean round of jumping is the main factor in whether he can. 

Meade said: "He seems very well and in great form at home. He'll appreciate the trip too. I just hope he jumps a clean round as that's the key thing with him. He tends to miss one or two.

"If he doesn't do that here then I'd be very hopeful of a big run." 

Willie Mullins: one runner this year

Has Mullins managed to find another star stayer?

Willie Mullins has won this Grade 2 four times in the last decade - through Measureofmydreams (2016), Terminal (2013), Uimhiraceathair (2010) and Pomme Tiepy (2008) - and the champion trainer relies on C'Est Jersey to continue his impressive record.

Mullins is more hopeful than confident, however, saying: "C'Est Jersey faces a big task against four more experienced rivals. He's run only once over fences, finishing second to another of ours, Kemboy, at Fairyhouse last month.

"We could have gone for another beginners' chase but decided, given what stage of the season it is, to try him at a higher level to see how he gets on with a view to the rest of the campaign. We think the step up to three miles will suit him."


Members’ Club Ultimate subscribers can read our festival stable visit with Gordon Elliott exclusively online the night before publication in the paper. Not a member? Enjoy your first month free when you subscribe using promo code FREETRIAL. Find out more here


 

Monbeg Notorious never shows you much at home but he seems to be fine since his Thyestes win
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