Boston Bob, stays the trip and is fine on the ground but has been a bit disappointing in three starts this season. Needs to find back to his best to feature.
Carlingford Lough faded badly in the Lexus Chase in December after travelling well until the last. Better ground may well suit today and should strip fitter.
First Lieutenant hasn’t won since April 2013 and seems to regress. Chance on best form but plenty to find on recent showings.
Foxrock was an excellent Novice last season and did well this season as well. There might be still a bit improvement left in him, but he has to find a bit with most of this field.
Home Farm is still generally lightly raced and may well be a fresh horse after he fell at the first in the Lexus. He won a
Listed chase at Thurles back in November. Has stamina to prove today.
Lord Windermere hasn’t shown much since winning the Gold Cup last season. Obviously he is in with a chance judged on his best, but one has to wonder if this is only another prep towards Cheltenham?
On His Own was a strong runner-up in the Lexus after setting a gruelling pace for most parts. Runner-up in the Gold Cup last year and Ruby on board this time.
Texas Jack has all to prove over 3m today and on form shouldn’t be good enough.
Verdict: For me this race really evolves around the first three in the market. Foxrock may well have the improvement in him to feature here, but he hasn’t shown this kind of level of form that is required here normally, which is the case for Boston Bob, On His Own and Carlingford Lough the case, however. Boston Bob hasn’t convinced me this season in his two starts. He was rather fair and square beaten. Obviously on his best he’ll be a big runner with the good ground to suit.
But Ruby has opted for On His Own, the Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up, who finished in the same position in the Lexus. He’s a hardy horse, never knows when he is beaten. If he can set his own pace, and a less demanding one than in the Lexus, he could be tough to peg back. But how much has this tough recent race taken out of him?
Carlingford Lough in contrast has only his second start this season. He is an improving animal and the way he travelled super strongly in the Lexus until the last, caught my eye. He faded badly soon after, but on soft ground and first seasonal appearance, that can happen. I imagine him to strip fitter today, and the better ground should suit as well. He may be able to pull out a bit more improvement to put his head over the line when it matters.
Carlingford Lough @ 7/2 Coral – 5pts win