Ballyoisin fell when fancied for the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase two years ago, so is strongly fancied for compensation in this year’s renewal of the Cork feature contest over an extended 2m on Sunday (14:35).
Trained by Enda Bolger for JP McManus, the eight-year-old son of Presenting was again impressive in landing the similar grade Fortria Chase after an early autumn campaign over hurdles.
After bolting up at Navan by 23 lengths in November 2018, Ballyoisin returned there and gave 9lb to Cheltenham Festival winner A Plus Tard last month.
As jockey Mark Walsh heavily eased him close home, he was value for plenty more than the winning margin of 2 3/4 lengths.
Ballyoisin jumped so well that a repeat performance means he’ll take some stopping.
McManus does have another engaged in the Hilly Way Chase this year in Great Field, but he has been far from straightforward.
An exuberant jumper who also has a tendency to come down, the clear danger to Ballyoisin is trainer Willie Mullins’ other runner – the unexposed Cilaos Emery. That seven-year-old rival is now two from two over fences.
Although impressive when landing the Grade 3 Poplar Square Chase at Naas easing down by nearly 10 lengths, Cilaos Emery faced nothing in the field of Ballyoisin’s class.
They look a solid forecast pair for first and second respectively.
Punters can back Ballyoisin at 11/8 with SportNation for overdue Hilly Way Chase success. There are also some other interesting horses running on a fabulous Cork card.
Alpine Cobra can strike in Stayers Novice Hurdle
An intriguing renewal of the 3m Grade 3 Stayers Novice Hurdle kicks off the top class action (13:35), and Alpine Cobra appeals each-way now again stepped up in trip.
Trained by the shrewd Charles Byrnes, this six-year-old Scorpion gelding has progressed for going over long distances this autumn.
Alpine Cobra was a fine fifth to recent winning chase debutant Carefully Selected in a Naas bumper on his racecourse bow back in February 2018.
Two starts later he landed a Limerick National Hunt Flat race over 2m 3f and that left the impression he would want tests of stamina over hurdles.
Byrnes has brought Alpine Cobra along slowly since. He took time to get over a fall at Limerick on hurdles bow and later shaped as if needing the run when a never nearer 19-length fourth at Galway over 2m on his return to action in October.
That was the wrong trip for Alpine Cobra and he fared much better in a hot Navan maiden hurdle when up to 2m 4f.
He belied odds of 25/1 when keeping on into third behind hot McManus prospect Andy Dufresne
Alpine Cobra came on a bundle for that when up in trip again to 2m 6f at Punchestown and scoring by a comfortable 1 1/2 lengths.
The way he finished off that race suggested the extra couple of furlongs in this would be no problem.
While this demands more and he faces respected rivals in Noel Meade’s Battle Of Midway, Listed course and distance winner Well Set Up, and unexposed horses from the stables of Mullins and Gordon Elliott, Alpine Cobra has the right profile for a stamina test.
You can back him each-way at 6/1 with Ladbrokes to follow-up.
Sinoria another to side with on Hilly Way Chase day
Later on the card is a Grade 3 mares novice chase over an extended 2m (15:05).
Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore teamed up with owner Kenneth Alexander last Sunday to win the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, so those same connections are fancied here with Sinoria.
The six-year-old daughter of Oscar is another smart mare to go to war with this season.
An Irish point winner and scorer at Listed level over hurdles, Sinoria made a taking chase bow at Thurles last month when bolting up by 12 lengths.
That race saw her lower the colours of useful Mullins mare Good Thyne Tara. Although Sinoria wasn’t fluent as the final two fences, the race was over for all intents and purposes.
She was certainly in firm command at the last and only needed pushing out to score easily. This is a tougher assignment, but the drop back in trip is no problem.
Sinoira is unexposed compared to Augusta Gold, who has had four starts in this sphere. She also gets a handy 4lb from Gigginstown runner Tintangle, who is penalised for consecutive wins.
Elimay makes her chase bow here for Mullins and McManus and, although combination is respected, it’s hard to know what to expect.
Sinoira is 4/7 favourite with Betfred to make it two from two over the larger obstacles on Hilly Way Chase day.