Right-handed track and longer trip could be the key to big Dunvegan display
Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase (Grade 3) | 2m2f | 5yo+ | ITV4/RTV
Pat Fahy resisted the temptation of sending Castlegrace Paddy to Cheltenham in 2018 and was rewarded with victory here so it is interesting to see him adopt a similarly patient policy with the mud-loving Dunvegan two years on.
The lightly-raced grey gelding is better going right-handed. He has won twice at Fairyhouse and twice at Punchestown. His form figures going this way around read 2211131. Going left-handed his form is 620P3. That tells you all you need to know.
He has two and three-quarter lengths to make up on Zero Ten from their clash behind Cash Back at Naas in January, but that was over two miles and Dunvegan was gaining ground as the winning post approached having been a long way behind with a mile to race.
There is every chance that form could be reversed here and it is worth noting Fahy was among the winners at Navan last Saturday with Castlegrace Paddy, ridden by Bryan Cooper.
Sizing Pottsie, as Jessica Harrington has always told us, is a much better chaser than hurdler.
He is two from three in his chasing career and the way in which he galloped 12 lengths clear of Cut The Mustard in a Grade 3 at Navan earlier this month means he is more than likely to be sent off favourite here.
Few could argue with that. He posted a Racing Post Rating of 154 there, but he must give weight away to everything and that is a big ask for a 120-rated hurdler.
Zero Ten was an expensive faller for punters in a novice chase at Punchestown last time. Sent off the 1-3 favourite, he came down four out when about to take off in pursuit of the front-running Yaha Fizz. Zero Ten is a very useful 143-rated chaser so deserves deep consideration here.
Capuccimix chased home Chosen Mate in a beginners chase at Gowran Park on Thyestes day in January and that form was well and truly franked by the winner, who has subsequently landed the Grand Annual at Cheltenham in great style.
Dallas Des Pictons is talented when on song. He won his beginners chase by 20 lengths at Gowran Park earlier in the season and the way in which he travelled through last year's Martin Pipe at Cheltenham when second to Early Doors tells you he has a touch of class.
This is a strong heat, a pleasant surprise given its proximity to Cheltenham, but Dunvegan could prove the one to side with given these are his terms and conditions.
What the connections say
Robbie Power, rider of Sizing Pottsie
I'm looking forward to getting back on him. He's come out of Navan in great shape and he was impressive there. I would say 2m2f on soft ground is ideal for him but he has to give weight away all round, which means it is his toughest test to date. I know Capuccimix well and he's a nice horse too.
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Dallas Des Pictons
He was a classy sort of hurdler but he's been a bit in and out over fences. He was bang there in a similar sort of race last time at Naas and any improvement on that should see him in the thick of things. He didn't show up at Cheltenham and he seems to be in good form.
Pat Fahy, trainer of Dunvegan
He's in good shape and that's the main thing. The race that we were aiming for at Punchestown was called off, then he missed it when it was rescheduled because he had a stone bruise. We had to change our plans so we're coming here now. He has a nice cruising speed and he's at his best when he's in his comfort zone. He couldn't be in better form.
Emmet Mullins, trainer of Zero Ten
It's a hot race and, hopefully with a clean round of jumping, we'll be bang there. He was never going to Cheltenham. He has the option of the Grade 1 novice chase at Fairyhouse next month and Galway will be on the agenda too. What race there I'm not quite sure yet.
Paul Townend, rider of Cut The Mustard
She ran well in Navan the last day behind Sizing Pottsie. I think the better ground here will suit her. It was very heavy at Navan that day. On paper, Zero Ten looks the one to beat but he’s coming off the back of a fall which isn’t ideal. My horse has her chance but she will have to turn the form with Sizing Pottsie.
Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Star Max
He's been holding his form together well and, while this looks quite a hot race, we'd like to think he has a decent each-way shout.
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