It's four horses in two races on Sunday afternoon for Gordon Elliott's yard as our man and his runners head to Naas...
"Cracking Smart is a lovely big horse. He ran very well at Navan last month in a Grade 2 finishing behind favourite Next Destination and ahead of Jetz, both of whom he faces here again today. I'd be pleased to see him finish in the placings."
Blow By Blow was back to winning ways at Navan in December, he just needed those couple of runs after 18 months off the track and the step up in trip obviously suited him. Here, he steps back into Grade 1 company for the first time over hurdles. I think we'll see the best from him over further and he does tend to just do enough. But the addition of blinkers today should improve him again and he won't mind the ground at all, so I'm hopeful he show a good account of himself.
Cracking Smart is a lovely big horse who we will see the best from when he goes chasing but he's doing everything well at the moment and ran very well at Navan last month in a Grade 2 finishing behind favourite Next Destination and ahead of Jetz, both of whom he faces here again today. While this is a bigger task for him, and I can't see him being the main danger, I'd certainly expect him to run a good race and I'd be pleased to see him finish in the placings.
Cubomania has been impressive in both his starts for us with two back to back hurdle wins in the space of a week. He seems to thrive on racing and has come on in himself at home. Conditions look just right and, if this hasn't come too soon for him, I'd be hopeful of another good run from the gutsy five-year-old.
Azua Emery had every chance to pull it out of the bag at Punchestown on New Years Eve with the fillies allowance and Liam McKenna claiming an additional 7lb but could only finish third behind stablemate Veneer Of Charm who was having his first run over hurdles. I'd expect another consistent run from her but I'd really like to see her get her head in front on her handicap debut with Katie O'Farrell on board who I think will suit her.