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Only The Bold didn't stay the trip in the Welsh National, but I felt he ran better than it looked. He lined up in first two/three, quicky was the back marker and then Jack Tudor tried creeping him into the race and before they were about to turn for home I thought he was in with a chance of placing, but he ploughed through the fence before the turn and was then pulled up.
Leopardstown 1:15 – Fact To File 11/10 (2pt)
Fact To File has an interesting profile which doesn't appear to be the usual route that Willie Mullins takes with his horses, but he went from being a top class bumper horse to skipping the usual hurdling season and has gone straight over fences. He ran well on seasonal and chase debut to finish 2nd to American Mike and it looked to me that he needed the run and would come on for it, so he has every chance of getting a win now.
This is a decent race with Minella Cocooner turning up, who was a useful hurdler from a couple of seasons ago and made a decent Chase debut last November when finishing 2nd, but I think Fact To File is the better horse of the two as he was a very classy bumper horse and Willie wouldn't be going straight for fences if he didn't think he was classy enough to do that. Zanahiyr is an interesting chase debutante in this race, he is a smart hurdler who is just below Grade 1 level when running at his best but he is a flat bred horse, so this race on chase debut looks a big ask against some good horses.
I think Fact To File will have a big season this year, and possibly go for the NH Chase at Cheltenham, which is 3m 6f, however, he is a horse with plenty of speed about him so even though he is being earmarked for that race, this looks a nice opportunity for him to break his duck over fences.
Leopardstown 1:50 – Irish Point 11/8 (1pt)
Even though Irish Point is stepping up to 3m for the first time, I think he has a nice chance of winning this Grade 1, which doesn't appear to be the strongest.
He has to prove he has the stamina on heavy ground over 3m, but based on his form as a novice hurdler I think he has a nice chance of doing well against the seasoned horses. This race has been won by a 5yo four times in the last ten years and the hasn't been won by a horse older than 7 in the last ten years, which makes it a tough ask for every other horse in this race other than Buddy One. Irish Point won nicely over 2m 1f on his seasonal reappearance and that would've been a nice starting point for him, beating a decent mare, Magic Zoe by 1.75L who was 2nd at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year.
Irish Point finished last season off nicely with a Grade 1 win at Aintree over 2m 4f on good to soft ground. The form is a bit of a mix as the runner-up hasn't done anything to frank the form, but Hermes Allen ran well in Kauto Start behind Il Est Francais and others like Springwell Bay (6th) won nicely on first time out this year and Crambo (7th) won the Long Walk Hurdle Grade 1 at Ascot last week when finishing ahead of Paisley Park, so overall it looks to be a decent level of form.
I am mostly afraid of Asterion Forlonge who is a talented horse when he wants to be, but he is now a 9yo and is back over hurdles again. I think he stays the trip, but I do have reservations about him staying the trip on heavy ground.
Leopardstown - 1:15 pm
11/10 @ Bet365
Leopardstown - 1:50 pm