Gary O'Brien picks out a trio of tips in the Irish double-header of racing on Sunday afternoon...
"He put that blip behind him by beating On The Fringe at Killarney ten days later. It's not ideal that he only got as far as the first on his recent reappearance between the flags but with a clear round today he should be too strong for Fenno's Storm and Wrong Direction."
It's been a real treat to watch the dazzling array of good jumpers who have been strutting their stuff in recent weeks, and though the bringing forward of the Morgiana Hurdle has weakened Punchestown's Sunday card there is still an interesting Irish double-header this afternoon.
Taking a punt on Gwencily Berbas
Battleoverdoyen is probably the day's headline horse and having created such a good impression on his chasing debut at Galway it will be disappointing if the Grade 1 winning hurdler can't follow up under Davy Russell in the Florida Pearl Novice Chase at 14:50. He's not exactly must-bet material at odds-on though, and instead it might be worth waiting for Gwencily Berbas in the extended 2m6f handicap chase which follows.
A promising juvenile hurdler for owner Barry Connell some four seasons ago, the French import hasn't quite scaled the heights that looked likely at one stage but has certainly shown enough in his two starts since joining Eric McNamara to suggest there are more races to be won with him.
In particular his latest fourth behind runaway winner Cabaret Queen in the Munster National at Limerick reads well in today's company, and though he has scored over 3m+ in the past the drop down in distance here looks a good move on the balance of his form. The trainer's son Conor claims a useful 7lb too so all in all he looks to have plenty going for him.
Sumous Novios good value
At Cork, the final three races are all of some interest. I was tempted by Stones And Roses in the beginners chase after a sound effort at Wexford but in the end decided Sumos Novios was a better option in the valuable handicap which follows.
This lightly-raced veteran is better over further, but so encouraging was his seasonal bow at Galway last month that I am not going to let that bother me too much. That second-placed effort to the progressive and unexposed Portmore Lough showed that despite his advancing years there is plenty of life left in Liam Burke's charge, aboard whom son Jonathan is home to take the mount.
He is 3lb higher here but given that the pair were fourteen lengths clear of the rest that seems fully warranted and his stamina could well prove a major asset in what are likely to be testing conditions.
Don't pass up on this
Early-season hunter chases wouldn't normally be my thing but It Came To Pass is a horse I have a lot of time for and I'll be disappointed if he can't land the finale. In keeping with the family theme of today's column, Maxine O'Sullivan partners the half-brother to Lord Windermere, who was giving vain chase to runaway winner Caid Du Berlais when unseating two out at the Punchestown festival. He put that blip behind him by beating On The Fringe at Killarney ten days later. It's not ideal that he only got as far as the first on his recent reappearance between the flags but with a clear round today he should be too strong for Fenno's Storm and Wrong Direction.