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Faugheen is one for romantics but Supasundae is the tasty tip

 

Emotional bid: Trainer Willie Mullins and Faugheen
Emotional bid: Trainer Willie Mullins and Faugheen

By Michael Verney

Many race programmes will be flying in the air at 3.40 today should Faugheen 'The Machine' write his name in the history books as the first to combine Champion Hurdle success with a Stayers' Hurdle victory.

Young pretender Paisley Park is the one to beat on paper after an outstanding season, while Supasundae is the fly in the ointment on a quality card where a top-class renewal of the Ryanair Chase shares top billing.

1.30 GRADE ONE JLT NOVICES' CHASE 2m3f168yds

SEVEN of this race's eight winners have been from the visiting party but the home team hold a strong hand in 2017 Triumph Hurdle winner Defi Du Seuil and also Lostintranslation.

Willie Mullins has plundered four of the eight runnings and sends three into battle today, with Real Steel (Paul Townend), Voix Du Reve (Ruby Walsh) and Pravalaguna (David Mullins) all holding claims.

Verdict: Pravalaguna (e/w) can bely odds to make frame.

2.10 GRADE THREE PERTEMPS NETWORK FINAL H'CAP HURDLE 2m7f213yds

THE claims of Gordon Elliott's Sire Du Berlais are obvious after an eye-catching performance over Christmas in Leopardstown but there has only been one winning favourite in 10 years.

With 24 runners going to post, anything can and will happen, but the experience of A Toi Phil may prove vital with Elliott very sweet on the chances of Jack Kennedy's mount.

Verdict: The experienced A Toi Phil can justify Elliott's confidence.

2.50 GRADE ONE RYANAIR CHASE 2m4f127yds

THIS could well be the hottest edition of the Ryanair since its inception in 2005 with a host of Gold Cup prospects re-routed to the shorter trip.

Top of that list is Noel Meade's Road To Respect - fourth in the blue riband last year and winner of the Brown Plate in 2017 - which will revel in conditions under Sean Flanagan.

Paul Nicholls' Frodon has been outstanding this season with three victories, but others are preferred, with Henry de Bromhead's Monalee - second to Presenting Percy in the RSA 12 months ago - another with a leading chance.

Verdict: Road To Respect can land a cracking renewal

3.30 GRADE ONE SUN RACING STAYERS' HURDLE 2m7f213yds

THERE won't be a dry eye in the house if Faugheen turns back the clock and the evergreen 11-year-old is reported to be sizzling on Mullins' Closutton gallops in recent weeks.

Were the 2015 Champion Hurdle hero to reproduce his breathtaking Punchestown Festival display from last April, there would only be one winner, but doubts linger and short odds don't resemble value.

On the other hand, Supasundae is a Festival winner and runner-up in this 12 months ago.

Having landed the last two runnings, Mullins sends three into battle alongside Faugheen and the consistent Bapaume may be overpriced.

Verdict: Gifted Supasundae can continue his fine Festival form to land the odds.

4.10 GRADE THREE BROWN PLATE HANDICAP CHASE 2m4f127yds

IRISH horses have landed the last three runnings, but with just two contenders today - Mullins' Polidam and De Bromhead's Valseur Lido - the home team look primed for victory.

Verdict: Eamon An Cnoic can continue David Pipe's fine record in this race.

4.50 GRADE TWO MARES' NOVICES' HURDLE 2m179yds

MULLINS has landed this race's three runnings with hot favourites but it's Henderson who has the hotpot today in the shape of Epatante.

While she looks a very smart prospect and could prevail, this is her first proper test over hurdles and she faces 21 rivals so it's best to look elsewhere and Sinoria jumps off the page.

Verdict: Sinoria can show her class to prevail.

5.30 KIM MUIR CHALLENGE CUP AMATEUR RIDERS' HANDICAP CHASE 3m2f

Ted Walsh's Any Second Now has some good form, but without a win from nine starts over fences, he has been frustrating to follow.

Verdict: The 12-year-old Perfect Candidate can live up to his name.

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