Altior could not make the date but this Queen Mother Champion Chase still features a fascinating clash between two top-class animals. Defi Du Seuil has had an excellent season and his pace makes him a danger in any company but Chacun Pour Soi (3.30) looks enormously talented and can come out on top.
That, after all, was what happened when they met at Punchestown last April and there is no clear reason why the form should not stand up. Chacun Pour Soi had four lengths in hand at the line that day, yet Defi Du Seuil ran well enough to dispel any thought he may have underperformed, with last year’s Arkle Chase winner, Duc des Genievres, 16 lengths further back in third. Chacun Pour Soi was last seen landing the Dublin Chase, comfortably besting Min, who had won the race for the previous two years. He can help put the smile back on Paul Townend’s face after a difficult opening day.
1.30 Ballymore Hurdle Placed efforts on Tuesday by Abacadabras and Darver Star served to advertise the form of Envoi Allen, who beat them in the Royal Bond in December. The Bumper winner on this day last year, he can complete a double that has not been achieved since Monsignor.
2.10 RSA Chase Champ’s jumping must be a concern after what he did here on New Year’s Day, while Allaho could do too much in front on this testing surface. Minella Indo has an obvious chance of scoring here for the second year in a row but the value could be Easy Game, who does seem in need of this step up to three miles. He stayed on well to beat Allaho at Christmas but is twice the price.
2.50 Coral Cup A race full of plots, as it should be. Dame De Compagnie, Franco De Port and Black Tears are all easy to like but Top Moon is one that could be overpriced, although the 33-1 was wiped off the boards during Tuesday afternoon. Joseph O’Brien’s charge had been strong at the finish in his races until last time, when racing prominently over two miles did not suit.
4.10 Cross-Country Chase If he runs to the same level as last year, Tiger Roll will win easily but he is 10 and might still need this run on his way to the National. Easysland is a formidable opponent whose best days may yet be to come and he appeals at 3-1 in a race that lacks depth.
4.50 Fred Winter Hurdle Few of these four-year-olds are going to thrive on this ground but Palladium should have no trouble on that score, having sluiced through Sandown’s mud twice already this year. The chestnut beat older rivals last time and still looks fairly weighted.
5.30 NH Bumper The way Appreciate It hacked up over what had seemed a strong field at Leopardstown last month was eye‑opening. He seems likely to give Willie Mullins a 10th victory in this race.