Befair Ambassador Gordon Elliott offers insights into his 10 runners at Naas on Sunday and makes the case for Chosen Mate as his best chance...
Gordon's Best Chance - Chosen Mate (15:15)
"He's had a great season already and I was delighted with him when he won a Grade 2 over this course and distance last month."
Deserves another win
14:40 - Stooshie
He's a grand, solid horse and deserves to win another race as he has already been placed six times this season. I was happy with his chasing debut at Thurles last month where he jumped well and posted a solid effort to take third behind a couple of decent sorts. If he runs to that level this time I'd hope that he could mount a strong challenge for victory.
Best chance in great form
15:15 - Chosen Mate
Chosen Mate has had a great season already and I was delighted with him when he won a Grade 2 over this course and distance last month. He does have a penalty for that recent victory which will make life tough for him but he's in great form and I'm keen to try and get some more experience into him before he heads to Aintree. He found himself in front soon enough last time so I think he might be better than the bare result of that race might suggest.
Should cope with shorter trip
15:15 - Retribution
Retribution is a grand horse who was picked up cheaply at the sales in the autumn and he looks like he is going to give his owners plenty of fun. I was pleased with his first run over hurdles and he progressed very nicely from that run to win a maiden in good style at Clonmel last week. I think he could have a good summer in novice hurdles but we are keen to try him in decent company to see what path we should take with him over the coming months. He should cope with the shorter trip of this race but he is going to have to improve to get involved.
Ideal race to get experience
15:15 - Thunder Down Under
Thunder Down Under is a nice horse who won a Fairyhouse bumper on his debut a couple of months ago. He isn't really a bumper horse and he was still very green and raw on his racecourse debut so we are keen to give him some experience over hurdles and this looked an ideal race in which to start him out. It's a big ask for him but hopefully he will run a nice race.
Up against it
15:45 - Monatomic
He was none the worse for his fall in a handicap at Leopardstown last week so he's going to take his chance in this Grade 3 even though he has plenty to do on ratings. He did run very well over this course and distance last month when he was second in a decent novice handicap chase so we were keen to give him another outing here. Hopefully he will match the sort of form he showed here last month but he's up against it at the weights.
Hoping for a good showing
16:20 - Count Simon
Count Simon is a reliable type who deserves to have won more races over hurdles than he has. Last week I thought he ran a pleasing race to finish third to Tombstone. He was not well treated by the race conditions but he was only beaten two-and-a-half lengths into third. Thankfully, the handicapper wasn't too hard on him and the slightly longer trip of this race should suit him well so I'd be hoping for a good showing from him.
Should show up well
16:20 - The Big Lense
The Big Lense a nice horse and one that we've liked since his point-to-point days. I was a bit disappointed with his first handicap hurdle run at Limerick back in the autumn but his next run in a decent handicap at Fairyhouse last month was more encouraging as he finished fourth to Eight And Bob. He is entitled to improve off that run and this trip is similar to what he encountered last time so hopefully he will show up well.
Needs career best
16:50 - Dounikos
Dounikos was back to his best at Punchestown last month when winning the Grand National Trial. He seems to be in great order at home and I don't think that coming back to three miles will be a major problem for him as he did show up well in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. A bigger obstacle for him is the nine pounds he received for winning at Punchestown as that has pushed him up to a rating of 156. He is going to need another career best if he is to defy but top weight and a career high mark.
16:50 - Monbeg Notorious
Monbeg Notorious did really well for us last season but he has struggled in two runs this season and he will have to take a major step forward if he is to make his presence felt here. I would say that the dry winter has not been in his favour and he probably needs to get back to testing ground to show his best. There's no doubt that he has got the ability to feature here but he is best watched for the time being.
Hard to see him featuring
16:50 - Blow By Blow
Unfortunately Blow By Blow is regressing. His third to Delta Work at Christmas was encouraging but he has been really poor in two subsequent runs and it is hard to see him featuring. Hopefully a switch to handicaps might revive his fortunes but, looking to the future, maybe we have to look at going back over hurdles with him.
Gordon's Best Chance on Sunday - Chosen Mate (15:15)