Envoi Allen has been in the headlines as much as any horse this week. 11/11 in his career to date, the seven-year-old has his first start for Henry de Bromhead on the biggest of stages and bids for a third Festival success. It would also be a second notable win of the week for the outstanding Saint Des Saints as a damsire – Appreciate It looking right out of the top drawer when scoring on Tuesday.
RYANAIR LOOKS WIDE OPEN
Ryanair has a really open look to it this year, though Willie Mullins undoubtedly holds a very strong hand, with Allaho, Min, Melon and Tornado Flyer giving him over a third of the field. After the comeback win of Tiger Roll yesterday, who would bet against Samcro doing the same today? A dual Festival winner, he comes alive at Cheltenham in March.
PAISLEY BACK FOR MORE
Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park looked right back to his best when landing the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last time and with Thyme Hill unfortunately missing today, he looks by some way the best of the British challengers. He bids to become the first horse to regain the Stayers’ Hurdle crown since Inglis Drever won the second of his three titles in 2007, but faces a stern Irish challenge from the likes of Sire Du Berlais and Flooring Porter.
MARES HURDLE? IF IN DOUBT, BACK MULLINS
Willie Mullins has won all five runnings of this race, so it would take a brave man to bet against his representatives, headed by Gauloise and Glens Of Antrim, the latter aiming to become the second consecutive winner of this to shed her maiden tag over hurdles, following in the hoofprints of Concertista a year ago.