Timeform bring you the lowdown on a competitive novice hurdle from Ireland on Sunday...
"Preference is for City Slicker who won a minor event comfortably despite racing freely last time..."
City Slicker is a progressive sort who won on return to action at Punchestown in November, and quickly put Ascot flop behind to score at former venue last month. Has to enter calculations now upped in grade. Hooded.
Minella Foru was successful on his sole start between the flags and opening 2 starts in this sphere latterly in Navan Grade 3 in November. Unsuited by the way the race developed in C&D Grade 1 latest, and still early days.
Empire of Dirt beat a pair of subsequent winners on hurdling bow/return from 22-month absence at Punchestown and put up best effort to date when runner-up at Leopardstown (2½m) last time. Each-way claims.
Kick On Boss is a bumper winner who confirmed his earlier hurdles promise when readily landing 19f Naas maiden 36 days ago. Very much had run of the race there, and this requires much more.
Real Steel was runner-up on both starts in decent bumpers and made an impressive start to his hurdles career when demolishing rivals in 2m Cork maiden in November. Solid in-the-frame efforts both starts since, not discounted.
Kylestyle from a good jumping family. 10/11, didn't need to be at best when winning 18 runner maiden hurdle at Thurles (2m, soft) 38 days ago, easily. This a much tougher assignment, however.
Vicky de L'Oasis impressed when an easy winner at Galway and Wexford in the autumn and back from Newbury disappointment when runner up in 18f Grade 3 at Fairyhouse last month. Likely to be thereabouts.
1. City Slicker
2. Vicky de L'Oasis
3. Empire of Dirt
Timeform Verdict: There appears little to seperate the Willie Mullins' pair City Slicker and Vicky De L'Oasis on recent evidence, with preference just for the former who won a minor event comfortably despite racing freely last time, and with the hood on to aid him just gets the narrow vote to score again droppoing back in trip. Empire Of Dirt can fill third spot.