Another top day’s racing will have been experienced at Leopardstown by 16:10 on Sunday afternoon and we have two selections in this ultra-competitive handicap.
The first of which is ANY SECOND NOW at 8/1 who is currently 0-8 over fences. It might seem a daft selection with that track record, but the vast majority of those performances have come in pattern-level company.
In fact during his novice campaign, it took the likes of Grade 1 winners Monalee, Footpad and Invitation Only to prevent him from breaking his chasing duck.
With that type of form he went off favourite for the Close Brothers Handicap Chase at Cheltenham when finishing 8/19 on unsuitably soft ground.
Any Second Now’s second season chasing saw him run a good novice yardstick in Mortal to a neck defeat over this trip at Fairyhouse. The selection was then sent off favourite for the Paddy Power at 5/1 and this looks a marginally easier test with the drop back from three miles sure to suit.
He’s only up 1lb for his latest run and could be in-line to finally taste his first success since winning the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle in Janaury 2017.
Cadmium is respected dropping down in grade, but he may not quite see out this trip and Vieux Morvan could put up another bold show after his second in the Paddy Power.
Speaker Connolly is also on the upgrade although an 11lbs rise will require a big improvement and his price is a little skinny.
JP McManus has been in good form so far this weekend and we are taking another one of his in FITZHENRY, who ran a very good third in the Paddy Power Chase at odds of 25/1 over three miles.
Fitzhenry has shown bags of stamina during his short chasing career and was a model of consistency as a novice last season picking up two victories over this sort of trip.
He has seemed to get better with each start this year and was definitely one to take out of his last race, staying on best of those held-up.
Fitzhenry has a nice weight for this and is just 2lbs higher than his previous run on a mark of 135, which still looks workable for Paul Nolan’s raider.
Barry Geraghty takes the ride and his mount is wearing first time blinkers that could eek out more improvement at nice odds of 14/1.
1pt each-way Any Second Now @8/1, 16:10 Leopardstown, Sunday (1,2,3,4,5 places, 1/5 odds with various bookies)
1pt each-way Fitzhenry @14/1, 16:10 Leopardstown, Sunday (1,2,3,4,5 places, 1/5 odds with various bookies)