Seven runners for Gordon Elliott at Cork on Sunday afternoon and here the Betfair Ambassador gives the lowdown on all of their chances...
"He has improved since Galway and I think he will also improve for this longer trip. I think he is potentially decent staying novice so hopefully we will see him show up well here."
- Gordon Elliott on Ragnar Lodbrok
Hoping for a bit more but handicaps his likely destination
12:40 - Irish Art
He is going to have his third run over hurdles in a four-year-old maiden. On his two runs over hurdles last season he struggled and he didn't show much on the flat when he ran at Roscommon during the summer but he's been given plenty of time and seems well so hopefully we will see a bit more from him this time but I would say handicaps will represent his best chance of making an impression over hurdles.
Schooled well but plenty of improvement likely
13:10 - Daphne Moon (reserve)
Hopefully she will get a chance to run in the mares maiden hurdle. Some of her bumper form last season was very solid and she would have badly needed her comeback run at Punchestown a few weeks. I think two and a half miles or further on soft ground will be right up her street and she is one that I would expect to progress well with racing during the winter. She has schooled fine but she will improve plenty for this experience.
Both in good shape but Lodbrok my best chance with longer trip to his benefit
13:43 - Jimmy Jimmy & Ragnar Lodbrok
Jimmy Jimmy is a grand horse and looks like he will improve for the step up to this trip. He won his bumper over two and a half miles and those types generally want three miles to be at their best over jumps. He did win his maiden hurdle over two and a half miles but looked that day like he would appreciate going further so this looked a good race to aim towards with him. He is in good shape and going well at home and I'm hoping he will acquit himself well but he is stepping up in class here and will need to progress.
Ragnar Lodbrok showed promise in bumpers and came back a stronger horse after a summer off. I was pleased with his win in a Galway maiden hurdle a few weeks ago and the third has come out and won since to give the form a solid look. He has improved since Galway and I think he will also improve for this longer trip. I think he is potentially decent staying novice so hopefully we will see him show up well here.
Popular trio are all capable on their day
14:48 - Gun Digger, General Principle & Out Sam
After looking like he had totally lost his way last season Gun Digger came back to form to win a nice handicap at Leopardstown and he followed that with a decent effort in the Ulster National. He seems in good shape and he is going nicely at home so hopefully he will run well. I know he has the ability to run well but he doesn't always produce that on the track.
General Principle could run well. He is a former Irish Grand National winner and showed plenty of his old spark in a couple of runs last spring where he was placed in the Leinster National and the National Trial at Punchestown. He's not the easiest to predict and he is getting on in years but he is still a very capable sort on his day and this race looks right up his street.
Out Sam won this race a couple of years so we know this is the sort of test that he relishes. I thought he was going to run a very nice race on his comeback at Kilbeggan where he fell on the final circuit of a veteran's chase. He was none the worse for that fall and has been going nicely at home since then so hopefully he could show up well. He can be a bit in and out but he is another that is a decent handicapper when everything falls into place for him.