Battleoverdoyen and Faugheen face off in the 2m 5f Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Dublin Racing Festival day 2 this Sunday (15:00).
Both have scored at the highest level over Christmas, but preference is for the former.
Battleoverdoyen is trained by Gordon Elliott for Gigginstown House Stud and unbeaten in three starts over fences.
As a seven-year-old, he is five years younger than Faugheen and has form over further. Battleoverdoyen is also lightly-raced for his age with eight career starts and won six of seven outings under Rules.
He progressed last season to land the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle over 2m 4f.
On that effort, Battleoverdoyen was sent off 3/1 favourite for the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival but got pulled-up when not travelling at any stage. Connections then went chasing with him.
The son of Doyen jumped well and made all for an easing down eight-length success on his bow over fences at Galway, then followed-up in the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown.
Both of those runs came over 2m 6f – just a furlong further than the trip of this.
Battleoverodyen found plenty for pressure in the latter to score by five lengths, then stepped up in distance.
A course win over 3m last time out at the highest level again saw him jump well and make all.
Battleoverdoyen ran out a length victor over stable companion and National Hunt Chase fancy Champagne Classic, but saw the winning margin reduce close home.
It may be that he is even better over slightly shorter.
As he has been minded by Elliott for this sphere and has much less mileage on the clock than Faugheen, Battleoverdoyen appeals most at 2/1 with Betfred for the Flogas.
Faugheen favoured of Flogas three for Mullins
Despite being a 12-year-old, Faugheen has taken to chasing well enough.
With a Grade 1 victory at Limerick when defeating fallen giant Samcro last time out, he is the pick of three Willie Mullins horses against Battleoverdoyen.
This beloved veteran has made the odd mistake in his belated career over fences, but is two from two this term.
Owned by Rich and Susannah Ricci, Faugheen was as his rhyming nickname aptly had it a machine in his younger days.
That 10-length defeat of Samcro may not be as solid form as it first appears, because the runner-up dropped tamely away.
It almost looked as though the breathing problems he has experienced helped Faugheen to victory.
Samcro was also jumped off his feet by Fakir D’oudairies – a horse that has been beaten since – when falling on his previous start.
It’s easy to pick holes in Faugheen’s form, then, but bookmakers still respect him.
It would be no surprise to see Mullins mastermind another triumph, but no horse older than nine has won the Flogas.
Faugheen is respected at odds of 13/8 with Paddy Power, but opposed now facing some lightly-raced sorts with more scope than him to get better.
Stable companion Easy Game is one of those. This six-year-old is a course and distance winner who previously chased home Grade 1 hurdler Honeysuckle over the smaller obstacles.
Easy Game is pitched right in at the highest level over fences off the back of his win here in December.
That looks significant and he is one to consider each-way at 6/1 with Boylesports, with Tornado Flyer looking to bounce back after pulling up last time out.
Aspire Tower can’t be opposed in Spring Juvenile
Earlier on Dublin Racing Festival day 2 is the 2m Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle (13:25), and Ireland’s leading four-year-old Aspire Tower is impossible to oppose.
Trained by Henry De Bromhead, this Flat convert has bolted up on both his starts over obstacles despite running green.
Aspire Tower made an impressive debut over hurdles and for the stable at Punchestown when winning by 13 lengths.
That taking display saw him sent off 15/8 favourite for the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle here over Christmas.
Aspire Tower again made all in the hands of Rachael Blackmore, jumping well for a facile 18-length success over the re-opposing Wolf Prince.
The runner-up was made to look a mug by that winning margin, but has won the two starts either side of that course and distance outing.
Wolf Prince is probably better value for a place than Aspire Tower to win.
It’s no surprise to see him a warm favourite for the Triumph Hurdle, though. On all known form, he should be completing his hat-trick in this.
Aspire Tower certainly needs to if he is to justify his price for Cheltenham Festival glory. Short odds of 4/7 with Unibet are available on that happening.
Wolf Prince has finished third and second behind Aspire Tower and, as noted above, won his two hurdles outings.
That makes the Gavin Cromwell trained son of Pour Moi each-way value again at 17/2 with William Hill now that Jonathan Moore returns to the saddle.
Cerberus looks the pick of the Joseph O’Brien trained, JP McManus owned pair in this.
He is a Grade 3 winner who chased home Allmankind at the highest level around Chepstow last time out and a 13/2 chance with Coral.
Mt Leinster can follow-up on Dublin Racing Festival day 2
Mullins has won six of the last seven renewals of the 2m Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle (13:44), so Mt Leinster is the pick of three engaged for the County Carlow maestro.
This six-year-old has some smart bumper form placing third and fifth at this venue on competitive contests last winter.
He was only 7 1/2 lengths behind the unbeaten Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle favourite Envoi Allen in the latter.
Mt Leinster went on to be seventh in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at the Punchestown Festival when beaten less than 10 lengths by stable companion Colreevy. He was thus one to watch over hurdles this season.
Although going down by 1 1/2 lengths on his debut over the obstacles at reappearance at Gowran, Mt Leinster was conceding experience of this sphere to Easywork.
The winner has since bolted up over further at Limerick and the pair now re-oppose. Mt Leinster scored by nine lengths over course and distance last time out.
He had Dawn Run runner-up Concertista beaten a further 5 1/2 lengths in third. That was a competitive event for a maiden hurdle.
Connections go straight back up to the highest level with Mt Leinster here and Paul Townend is once again in the saddle.
He can be backed at 5/2 with Ladbrokes to reverse form with Easywork. Mullins also saddles the unbeaten Asterion Forlonge as well, but he has won a 2m 4f Irish point, so may need further.
Blue Sari also represents the stable here, but something was amiss last time out.
The JP McManus owned five-year-old was runner-up to Envoi Allen in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and has since won over hurdles at 2m 4f. This trip may be too sharp.