In the absence of Presenting Percy the Henry de Bromhead-trained Monalee can take centre stage at Gowran this afternoon. The dual Cheltenham Festival runner-up faces just three rivals in the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase and this looks an ideal opportunity for him to record his first win in just over a year. On his last start Monalee turned in a cracking effort to chase home leading Gold Cup fancy Kemboy in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
A repeat of that run would look good enough to lift this prize and the drop back to two and a half miles should also suit Monalee. He has winning form at three miles but he has looked a horse that could well excel at shorter distances.
Among his rivals is last year’s Gold Cup third and Grand National fourth Anibale Fly but he looks vulnerable over a trip short of his best. A similar remark applies to last year’s Irish Gold Cup hero Edwulf which leaves Killultagh Vic as the one to chase home Monalee.
He too would probably prefer further but he does come here off a very pleasing third to Presenting Percy in last month’s Galmoy Hurdle. Earlier Coeur Sublime is a hopeful choice to strike for Gordon Elliott in the Grade 3 Red Mills Trial Hurdle.
This four-year-old has been set a stiff task in being asked to take on his elders at this stage of the year. However, he is getting a very substantial weight for age concession which makes him an appealing contender. Furthermore Coeur Sublime may well have won a Leopardstown Grade 2 on his last start only to fall at the final flight.
He is part of what looks like a strong crop of Irish four-year-old hurdlers and he is put forward to defeat last year’s Triumph Hurdle hero Farclas. That one has yet to spark this season but he is taking a major drop in class after contesting the Irish Champion Hurdle on his most recent outing. Gordon Elliott might also land the mares bumper with Daylight Katie who has run to a good level on both her starts so far.
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