The new flat season may be just under a month old, with meetings on Friday at Doncaster, Newmarket, Lingfield and The Curragh, but it’s a summer jumps fixture which catches our eye as the Race of the Day.
Indeed, our chosen contest to end the week comes from the picturesque setting of Tipperary, where household names including Yanworth and Petit Mouchoir will contest the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at 13:15.
While the former isn’t given much of a chance by our traders, the latter is expected to go close. Henry De Bromhead’s inmate will be in receipt of weight from his rivals and often runs well when fresh.
Critics will note he hasn’t gotten his head in-front since October 2017, but after promising efforts in both the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last season, he looks to have every chance here.
Willie Mullins has won this race four times in the last six years and he saddles Aramon this time around with the seven-year-old looking to build on his most recent effort when runner-up in the County Hurdle.
He was a Grade 1 winner 24 months ago and like his market rivals runs well off a break, including twice under the stewardship of Paul Townend in 2018, who takes the ride again here. He looks certain to be involved.
The main danger to the top two in the market could be from Chosen Mate, who switched back to hurdles after ending last season with a double over fences, including the Grand Annual at the Festival.
He has decent form over sticks, winning a Grade 2 at Navan in 2019, and cannot be discounted for the potent combination of Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell.
Davids Charm runs for less glamorous connections but has equally enticing credentials after running away with a Grade 3 contest over course and distance here in October.
Subsequent runs proved less fruitful, including when up against Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace, so it’ll be interesting to see how the nine-year-old shapes after six months off.
John Walsh’s inmate falls into a similar mould to Turnpike Trip, who’s also a Grade 3 C&D winner and returns after half-a-year off. He ran well at Ascot on heavy ground when last season and could be in the mix.
There’s then a break to the remainder which includes useful dual-purpose performer Stratum, who hasn’t always shown his best over hurdles and Ornua, who switches to sticks for the first time since 2018.
Joseph O’Brien’s hopeful is more at home over fences but isn’t without a chance with the trainer taking this event courtesy of Plinth in 2017, although it’s A Wave Of The Sea could who hold stronger credentials.
The four-year-old was a Grade 1 winner on similar ground at Leopardstown last term and wasn’t without credit in the Triumph Hurdle either. He’s progressive and may make for an interesting each-way outsider.
Wonder Laish, Hearts Are Trumps and the consistently underwhelming Mengli Khan all have work to do if they’re to get on terms.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication