Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott kicks off the New Year with no less than 16 runners at Fairyhouse and Tramore...
"the classy Bachasson looks to a danger here with his recent Listed Chase win but as a multiple Grade 2 winner, A Toi Phil certainly has the ability to walk away with this and I expect a big run"
Dortmund Park was slightly disappointing on his Irish debut, a dual winner in France he had been off the track for six months prior to the run so I'd hope he has come on from it. With the addition of a tongue tie I'd like to think we'll see much better from him today and he would have the upper hand of our two runners.
Falak ran moderately on his hurdling debut at Down Royal back in November, he made a couple of small mistakes but will come on for the experience. The ground is a question mark for him today but he's in great order and ready to run so he takes his chance under Keith Donoghue.
Moonlight Escape stepped up to listed company last time out after her Galway win, she ran well enough but just found some too good for her. She ran very well here in October to finish second to Biddy The Boss who she faces again here today so with a bit of luck she can reverse that form on her hurdling debut and I anticipate a decent run.
Bettatogether has his first run for us for new connections the Gordon Elliott Racing Club, he joined us earlier this summer and after a short break returned into training and has been pleasing us with his work. Lightly raced for his age suggesting he has had some issues throughout his career thankfully everything has gone smoothly with him so far. We'll be able to make more of a plan for him after today but I'd hope for a nice run with the addition of Liam McKenna's 7lb claim.
An Caisteal Nuadh makes his seasonal return and steps back up in trip for this 2m5 Beginners Chase, he's a nice type of horse who jumps well, the ground is an unknown for him today but with a clear round on his first run over fences I wouldn't expect him to be far away with Davy Russell taking the ride.
Sutton Place was very impressive last season, the dual Grade 2 winner hasn't run since February but has been back in training for a good while now and is in great order at home. He's always looked a chaser in the making so I'm looking forward to seeing him run today. He won a Grade 2 here over 2m and the ground and trip will suit so I hope for a big run.
Fire In His Eyes takes a huge step up in trip for this 3m1 Handicap Chase, he's a big slow galloping horse so I think we could see much better from him over this kind of trip and with Liam McKenna on board making use of his 7lb claim I'd be expecting an improvement on what we have seen from him so far this season.
Swingbridge looked to struggle in the testing conditions at Navan last time out, he reverts back over fences today which will suit and he's had some time to freshen up after his last run. He won over this trip at Kilbeggan in August on good ground so distance won't be an issue but the ground could be a problem.
Fullasthesea takes on the bumper of just six runners, he won his only Point to Point start by 20L despite running greenly and Overworkdunderpaid who finished second to him that day went on to run well on his debut bumper. He's a huge big stamp of a horse that will improve as he gains experience but the way he won his Point on testing ground suggests he's a horse to look forward to. The booking of the experienced Jamie Codd is always a plus.
Back Bar unseated his rider Jack Kennedy on his latest appearance at Cork when running well however his penultimate start, his first over hurdles was a little disappointing. He has to contend with top weight here today and will need to show some improvement to be in with a chance of bringing this home but he will enjoy the ground and is in good form.
Cubomania ran a blinder on his yard debut, staying on well to win for new connections. The change of scenery clearly worked wonders for him as it often does. Jack Kennedy taking the ride today is a bonus and he enjoyed the heavy ground last time out so I would be very hopeful he can replicate that run and go close today. Course and distance winner Seskin Flyer looks his main opposition.
Sir Carno retains the cheek pieces today and steps back up in trip, he ran moderately at Leopardstown last week and he will need to show plenty of improvement on recent form to trouble the judge.
Monastery showed some slight improvement at Limerick last week despite looking to stop mid race and dropping right back she crept into it in the latter stages to finish fifth. I'd like to see more from her, she's a lovely big honest mare and while the step back up in trip will suit she will need to pull her socks right up to be in with a credible chance.
A Toi Phil drops down from Grade 1 company after his fourth in the John Durkan at Punchestown last month, he ran as expected finishing behind some very good horses and was not at all disgraced. This is an easier task for him today and he will enjoy the small field, the classy Bachasson looks to a danger here with his recent Listed Chase win but as a multiple Grade 2 winner, A Toi Phil certainly has the ability to walk away with this and I expect a big run.
Lord Scoundrel, usually a very consistent individual hasn't been showing his best of late. Pulled up on his most recent start in very testing conditions at Listowel in September he has now had some time to freshen up so I would love to see him get back to his best.
Soul Kaliber didn't set the world alight on his seasonal return here last month and he made a couple of mistakes in what was his chase debut. Dropping back in trip today with the addition of cheek pieces I hope to see some improvement from the eight-year-old.