There’s Grade 1 action at Down Royal on Saturday and Phill Anderson from the Racing Post has a trio of selections on the card.
Arctic Ambition @ SP
Fighter Allen @ SP
Galvin @ 11/10
The handicap chase (3.40) on the card looks competitive but there’s a good chance that Arctic Ambition could still be ahead of his handicap mark.
He was in good form when last seen for trainer Robert Tyner, finishing runner-up in a handicap hurdle and his previous effort over fences was a career best when successful at Tramore.
The front two put a huge distance between themselves and the third-placed horse that day and the selection seemed to relish the underfoot conditions which were very testing.
He looks set to get similar ground here, with further rain forecast in the area on Saturday morning and he also has untapped potential at this sort of trip, trying three-mile for the first time here.
His new trainer, Gordon Elliott, has an excellent record at this meeting and he’s adept at getting one ready on the back of a break.
With that in mind, the 294-day absence isn’t a major concern, and it’s interesting to see that he was bought for £21,000 in the interim, a steep sum for a low-grade handicapper.
It is safe to assume that the trainer believes there’s more to come from him and if this seven-year-old has improved again in the off-season, he could be hard to beat, despite coming from 1lb out of the weights for this.
Fury Road will probably be a short price for the Eventsec Chase (3.07), but it might be worth taking him on with Fighter Allen at longer odds.
Fury Road has a good record fresh and has proven himself at this level, but he already looks a bit more exposed than Fighter Allen, who was progressive last season.
Willie Mullins’ charge chased home Stattler on return/chase debut last year and there was plenty to like about his assured jumping when bolting up in a beginners’ at Tramore later that season.
While he got no further than the opening flight on his final start of the campaign, that effort is worth forgiving (keen and unlucky to come down on landing) and he’s worth giving another chance to on his return.
In the feature event at Down Royal (2.32), it’s hard to oppose Galvin and he looks capable of going one better than last year with no Frodon in the line-up.
The eight-year-old has the best recent form in this contest and he looked impressive when winning at Punchestown on his recent return.
This isn’t the strongest Grade 1 he will tackle this season and he’s proven himself in better races than this, notably, a success in the Savills at Leopardstown last Christmas.
His fitness edge is a big plus against the likes of Conflated, who seems to always need the run on return, and the selection can take this on his way to bigger things.