The ante-post market leaders for both the Turners Novices’ Chase and Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase are set to clash in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Novice Chase at 1:10, with Gaelic Warrior and Grangeclare West both declared. Narrow second favourite for the Brown Advisory, Fact To File, is also involved among five declared.
In the Tattersalls Ireland 50th Derby Sale Novice Hurdle at 1:40, Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle favourite Ballyburn heads a field of ten over the 2m trip. Though he is expected to step up in trip at the Festival, he is the clear favourite for this contest too ahead of Royal Bond winner Farren Glory, who was last seen falling when travelling well in the inaugural Grade 1 Formby Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on Boxing Day.
Two more Cheltenham favourites clash in the 2m1f Dublin Chase at 2:10: El Fabiolo heads the market for the Queen Mother Champion Chase as he looks to maintain his unbeaten record, while stablemate and Mares’ Chase principal Dinoblue is also among the quintet declared. Captain Guinness, for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore, is the only runner standing against a Mullins monopoly.
Lastly, in the Irish Champion Hurdle at 2:45, the primary hope of Ireland, State Man, a clear second favourite to Constitution Hill for the Cheltenham equivalent in a month’s time, is the leading candidate among another field of five. Impaire Et Passe, defeated by State Man over Christmas, returns for another crack at his stablemate, who is unbeaten on home shores since falling on debut, while Bob Olinger steps back in trip after an impressive revival so far this term.