Day two’s action gets underway with the second Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle of the week, with a trio of talented runners heading the Ballymore.
Willie Mullins holds yet another favourite at the Festival, in the form of Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle winner Gaillard Du Mesnil.
The five-year-old eased to victory on his Grade 1 debut, seeing off Mouse Morris’ Gentlemangame by five lengths at the Dublin Racing Festival.
The gelding went off as favourite in his three starts over hurdles and it come as no surprise that he sits top of the betting currently.
However, he faces a much tougher task this time around, in the form of Henry De Bromhead’s Bob Olinger.
A former Irish point-to-point winner, the six-year-old bolted up on his sole bumper start before transitioning to the smaller obstacles.
The gelding finished a length behind Ferny Hollow on his hurdles debut, but he followed that up with a strong performance at Navan before landing a maiden Grade 1 in the Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle in January.
A strong traveller, Bob Olinger has shortened in the betting in recent weeks and is now joint favourite alongside Gaillard Du Mesnil.
Bravesmangame flies the flag for the British contenders, with the Grade 1 winner looking to make a dent in the Irish hopes in this race.
Paul Nicholls believes the six-year-old is his best chance of a winner at the Festival, and has even compared him to the mighty Denman.
The gelding flew to victory in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle during the Festive period, and he could be a real threat to the two joint-favourites.
The rest of the field will need to progress further to contend with these three future stars, with two current entrants possessing the potential to do so.
Nicky Martin’s Bear Ghylls is currently unbeaten after his four runs under rules and looks an exciting prospect for the Minehead trainer.
The six-year-old will make his debut in Graded company, but if he can cope with the step up in class, he could well be worth some each-way value.
David Pipe’s Make Me A Believer ran a strong third in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick in January, and he could produce a big effort at a big price.
An interesting contest to get the second day underway at Prestbury Park.