The feature race at Naas on Saturday is the Listed 2m Opera Hat Mares Chase (13:37), and novice Cut The Mustard can go one better than last time out now eased in grade.
Trained by Willie Mullins for Sullivan Bloodstock, this eight-year-old already looks like making up into a better chaser than she was over hurdles.
Cut The Mustard ran well in graded handicaps last season.
After finishing runner-up to Sassy Diva when trying to give her 12lb at the Dublin Racin Festival, the daughter of Al Namix was a fine fourth at Fairyhouse to Ivanovich Gorbatov.
She finished the season rated 133 – just 2lb below Tintangle’s hurdles mark.
Cut The Mustard receives 3lb from that rival here and made a very taking bow over fences at Limerick during the Christmas Festival there.
Under hold-up tactics, she travelled well and progressed from about halfway to lead two out.
Cut The Mustard then went readily clear before the last and won by 14 very easy lengths.
She was then far from disgraced when pitched straight into Grade 2 company at Thurles and chasing home stable company Elimay.
That one is owned by JP McManus and has a big future over fences, so to only be beaten nine lengths was to Cut The Mustard’s credit.
Now dropped back in trip and on the downgrade, this looks a neat opening for her to get some black type.
That is reflected in odds of 8/15 with BetVictor for Cut The Mustard to win the Opera Hat Mares Chase.
Gin On Lime worth another go
In the four-year-olds rated novice hurdle over almost 2m (14:12), Gin On Lime drops significant in grade and is back against horses her own age.
Trained by Jessica Harrington, this French import won her sole start before coming over to Ireland.
Although Gin On Lime has to carry a 7lb penalty due to the value of that race, connections clearly think a lot of her.
She was pitched straight into Grade 3 company on Irish debut for a red-hot renewal of the Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
That race has been a stepping stone for Cheltenham Festival winners.
It was to her credit that Gin On Lime finished fourth against her elders and the winner, Minella Melody, is now favourite for the Grade 2 Dawn Run at Prestbury Park next month.
Only that one, Punchestown Festival Grade 1 bumper heroine Colreevy and the highly-regarded Dolcita were in front of her.
Gin On Lime finished ahead of Listed scorer Yukon Lil. This represents a return to calmer waters and a slight drop back in trip.
Although it’s unusual for a filly to be giving weight all-round rather than receiving it, Gin On Lime could well defy the race terms and resume winning ways here.
Each of her four rivals have questions to answer, so the daughter of Doctor Dino looks worth another chance on just her third career start.
Gin On Lime is 15/8 with Betfred for an Opera Hat Mares Chase day victory under Robbie Power.
Aione can follow-up on Opera Hat Mares Chase day
In the 2m 3f novice hurdle later on the card (15:57), Aione is taken to follow-up on his Gowran Park win for Mullins and Paul Townend.
The yard’s stable jockey is on a hot 36 per cent strike rate in the saddle over the last fortnight at the time of writing.
Owned by Rich and Susannah Ricci, this seven-year-old Irish point winner landed a Punchestown bumper in November on his debut under Rules. Connections then went straight over hurdles with him.
Aione got hampered two out at Fairyhouse, however, when beaten 4 1/2 lengths by Home By The Lee. He duly showed the benefit of that experience when going one better last time out.
Despite terrible mist and fog on Thyestes Chase day at Gowran Park, he coped with conditions. Aione took things up approaching three out and was pushed clear in-between the final two flights.
Rachael Blackmore eased him on the run-in, so he was value for more than the 5 1/2 lengths winning margin. Connections seem keen to get more hurdles experience into the Coastal Path gelding.
If Aione is to prove worthy of Cheltenham Festival entries in the Ballymore and Albert Bartlett, he has to be winning this despite giving weight all-round.
He is 11/10 with Boylesports to make it two from three over hurdles.
Alpine Cobra is next best on Racing Post Ratings here, but drops back in trip. He has shaped like a stayer for trainer Charles Byrnes and brings placed graded form into this.
The yard has hit a bit of form again, however, so the seven-year-old is well worth a market check if odds of 7/2 with William Hill> are taken by punters.