20 horses remain entered in the Bar One Racing Leinster National. Run over a distance of three miles, the race is worth €100,000 is due off at 4:52pm this Sunday.
The Jessica Harrington trained Lifetime Ambition remains at the top of the weights, while Gordon Elliott has left in Defi Bleu, Fakiera and Milan Native as the Cullentra handler chases a first win in Sunday’s feature race.
Defi Bleu and Farceur Du Large look the pick of the Gigginstown six remaining in the race. Defi Bleu has posted some solid efforts in similar races this year. The ten-year-old filled the runner-up spot in the Cork National last November, and finished a respectable third in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown last month.
Espanito Bello and Gabbys Cross have both got course winning form and are likely to be on many shortlists. Barry Connell will be hoping to get Cheltenham week off to the best possible start, and Espanito Bello was well supported prior to the Thyestes Chase at Gowran. A finishing position of fifth was a creditable effort and given his unexposed profile, he should be a big player on Sunday.
Gabbys Cross has winning form in big handicaps, having landed the Galway Blazers last year. He disappointed in the Thyestes at Gowran earlier this year, but a repeat of his Leopardstown fifth would put him right in the mix.
Connections of Angels Dawn have stated that the Kim Muir is their main target next week at Cheltenham. She’s also got an entry in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter on Saturday week, and it seems the Leinster National is the least likely option of the three. She was still travelling very well in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown before exiting two out, and if her connections did get a change of heart and opt to target the Leinster National, she would be a major player off a light weight.
Gold Cup Bailly wracked up a hat-trick of wins earlier in the season, but was beaten was the once very talented Thomas Darby at Ayr last time. He’s contested small field races at Ayr on each on his last three runs and the Leinster National is likely to be a much different challenge.
Barney O’Hare Bar One Racing CEO commented:
We’re looking forward to what should be a great days racing this Sunday. Hopefully the Leinster National will attract a healthy size final field, and the graded race could have two smart sorts in Irish Point and Journey With Me. The betting public are eagerly anticipating the Cheltenham Festival, and this sponsorship ensures the brand receives exposure ahead of the festival. We’re bust activating new accounts over the last number of days, and that will continue as we prepare for the biggest betting week of the year.”