Racing now switches to the New Course for Day Three - St. Patricks Day.
This race is suited to horses who have a mix of both stamina and speed. Horses who haven't quite got the speed for the Arkle and haven't got the stamina for the stiff 3m test at Cheltenham tend to come for this race and the last four renewals of this race have got to the Irish. Last March Vautour bounded clear of his rivals to win by 15 lengths but I predict it will be a more competitive race this year.
Generally a horse in the high 140's wins this race although Vautor was officially rated 154 last year.
The way Willie Mullins has been speaking in his interviews you can just tell that he knows this horse is ready to win a special race. He trying hard to make sure he places him in the right race and it looks likely that it could be here. He aimed the horse at the big 4 miler but Black Hercules has pulled to hard in his last race or two and that could be the deciding factor to step him back in trip to this race. I think its either between the JLT or the RSA and Mullins said this week that he's "Thinking seriously about the JLT." Yes this is quite a tough race but Black Hercules definitely has the ability to run a big race and would have outstanding claims for at least a place at odds of currently 7/1.
BRISTOL DE MAI
Bristol De Mai definitely runs here. Anthony Bromley the racing manager for this horses owners has confirmed that and Bristol De Mai would be a huge threat to Black Hercules. I have this one down in my bookmarks as loving soft ground, possibly even heavy and if the ground was plenty soft enough then I'd imagine this horse would be a popular choice. Will definitely see out the trip as the plan is to step up to 3m next season.
Since making the switch to the larger obstacles Outlander has won three out of three and looks a natural at this sort of trip. Outlander is now rated 149 over fences although he hasn't been a run away leader in any of his three wins over fences, he seems the type to always keep a bit in reserve so I think we are yet to see the best of him. He likes to be held up and will be delivered late. Willie Mullins didn't give too much away about this one in his Cheltenham contender interview but he did say after his victory at Limerick that Outlander would be better on better ground. Bryan Cooper also confirmed this after his most recent win at Leopardstown. A very interesting contender.