Monday, 13 March 2017

2.50 Cheltenham, Thursday, March 16

Despite suggestions that in the absence of Don Poli, also owned by Gigginstown Stud, Empire Of Dirt could run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Gordon Elliot’s 10-year-old will run in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday, all being well. Last year’s Brown Advisory Plate winner joined the Co. Meath trainer in October and has run just twice since, comfortably winning the Grade B Troytown Handicap by 4 lengths from subsequent Grade A winner Abolitionist at Naas in November and going down by three-quarters of a length to Sizing John in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month. He shouldn’t be unduly inconvenienced by dropping back in distance and is fully effective on the prevailing good to soft going, so could be good value against ante-post favourite Un De Sceaux, who steps up in distance on ground that may be a shade faster than ideal.

Selection: Cheltenham 2.50 Empire Of Dirt to win (4/1 generally available)

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