The Moscow Flyer headlines an interesting Sunday card at Punchestown and the Racing Post's Robbie Wilders provides two wagers, including an ante-post fancy at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Moscow Flyer Novices’ Hurdle (12.10) kicks things off at Punchestown and this Grade 2 has been kind to Willie Mullins, who has saddled six of the last 10 winners.
The big names jump off the page when scanning the recent roll of honour. Last season Dysart Dynamo followed in the footsteps of Getabird, Min, Douvan and Vautour to score impressively here and Impaire Et Passe can keep the prize at Closutton.
Mullins would have had plenty of firepower for this and it is surely significant he relies on Impaire Et Passe, who looked a top-notch acquisition when bolting up by 18 lengths on his debut for the stable in December at Naas.
Impaire Et Passe drops three furlongs in trip to the bare two miles, but looked a fast horse at Naas and put the race to bed with a devilish turn of foot.
This five-year-old earned quotes for the Cheltenham Festival off the back of that display and should be much too good in a below-average running of the Moscow Flyer.
The problem with backing him here is he will surely be heavily odds-on, so I’d rather take a flyer and support him ante-post for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the festival in March.
bet365 are sticking their necks out at a best-priced 12/1 and that price will halve at the very least if Impaire Et Passe wins as impressively as I expect.
There is a chance Impaire Et Passe will run in the Ballymore instead, but Mullins typically runs his Supreme horses here (his previous five winners have gone off short prices for that festival race) and in any case Facile Vega looks far too short in that market based on what he’s achieved.
He is yet to beat a top-class horse and Impaire Et Passe might be just that.
The Grade 3 novice chase (2.10) over 2m3½f will also likely have a bearing on the Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets.
Recent scorers Bob Olinger and Envoi Allen followed up in the Turners in March, although I’m struggling to pigeonhole any of these as a likely festival winner just yet.
While Impervious has looked an excellent recruit to chasing and recorded a Racing Post Rating of 150 at Cork in a Grade 2 last time, she must give weight to a decent group of geldings. New owner JP McManus might not extract any rewards for his investment just yet.
I’m not sure exactly what to make of former smart hurdler Journey With Me, who disappointed on his chasing debut before probably not beating much at Naas last time.
Instead, I fancy Mullins and rider Paul Townend to double up on the card with Ha D’Or.
Ha D'Or was undoubtedly a rung below Journey With Me over hurdles, but looked an exciting chase prospect on his first start over fences in a rated novice at Fairyhouse in December.
My selection jumped outstandingly for a first-timer when slamming The Goffer, who might frank the form in the Grade 2 novice chase at Warwick on Saturday, to make all by an eased-down 11 lengths.
This six-year-old should be fitter for the return and will be difficult to catch, with his slick jumping looking a real weapon.