Ceebee looks at Down Royal on Saturday and has bets on Outlander and Monalee.
14.30 JNWine G1 Champion Chase Down Royal 3miles
7 runners will have this as an unappealing betting contest in many eyes but I’m more than happy to play win-only at the prices. Outlander 9/1 is the selection.
A course & distance winner when improving dramatically on his seasonal reappearance to take this race 12mts ago. He defeated the younger Road to Respect who went on to claim the Lexus and showed well in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Outlander also ran well in the Lexus and again when just touched off in the Irish Gold Cup – he’s solid in these Irish G1 3m chases. He didn’t handle awful ground in Haydock or Fairyhouse last year and has never handled Cheltenham – strike a mark through all of those efforts. Down Royal on decent ground will be ideal.
Sub Lieutenant had race fitness on his side when, receiving 10lbs, he beat Outlander 9 lengths at Punchestown last month. Off levels now I’d expect Outlander to reverse places. Including when well beaten here last year, Sub Lieutenant has shown on many occasions he is not up to G1 class.
Balko des Flos is top rated but he’s without a run this season and 0-3 at 3miles so I’m eager to take him on. His Ryanair win was impressive, but the depth of that race can be questioned. He won just 1 of 5 starts since graduating from handicap company. A true high-160s G1 3mile chaser – I’m not sure. Outlander was just 2L behind him in the Lexus. Sure, Balko is the younger and probably better horse of the two but at this time of the year I’m happy to take 9/1 versus 2/1.
Woodland Opera and Sandymount Duke have at least 7 or 8lbs to find. Both will enjoy the good ground and have course form but I’m never keen on these type of summer horses taking on genuine quality national hunt types. The G2 Woodland won at Gowran was very weak this year.
Don Poli, a big horse who I assume takes plenty of work, surely won’t be at his best first time out after missing an entire season. The bigger worry is his awful showing when last running here in Down Royal, it doesn’t suit him.
1.5pt win Outlander at 13/2 with Paddy Power and Betfair
15.05 Grade 2 Chase 2m3f
The Storyteller was a good winner at Cheltenham but it was a handicap off 147. He was previously well behind Monalee at Leopardstown and was later a very fortunate winner at Punchestown. If a good version of Monalee or Shattered Love turns up here - The Storyteller won’t be good enough.
Snow Falcon is very similar. Despite winning the Kerry National last time that was from a mark in the 140s. Held by the likes of Mossback & Death Duty in novice chases before finishing fifth to Monalee – a likeable sort but even getting weight, he’s not good enough in a hot little race like this.
Peregrine Run is a bit like Jessie’s duo in the big race – he has been winning at Kilarney and Wexford throughout the summer months but will find this step up in class beyond him.
This is between Shattered Love and Monalee for me and preference is for the latter.
Monalee was 2nd in the RSA but his better performances were over shorter. He comfortably won a beginners chase over 2m4f before taking the G1 Flogas over 2m5f. That was the hottest novice chase run last year and Monalee had both Snow Falcon and The Storyteller in behind. 2m3f on decent ground may be a bit sharp but I think he’ll get away with it with an aggressive front running ride sure to help this exhuberant jumper.
Shattered Love was very impressive in the JLT at Cheltenham but some of her Irish form, intertwined with Jury Duty and behind Al Boum hoto at Fairyhouse has mean thinking Monalee is a better horse.
There is always a fitness risk at this time of the year so I’m glad to see he won first time out each of the last two years. At the prices, and there is always a chance that he will drift on his first outing of the campaign, Monalee is the selection.
1.5 points win Monalee at 6/4 with William Hill