Richard Maher Memorial Rated Novice Chase | 2m | 5yo+ | RTV
There may not be any Racing Post Arkle contenders in the line-up, but there will be clues for that Cheltenham Festival race as Impact Factor could give the form of Cilaos Emery – around 6-1 for the Arkle – a big boost with victory here.
Impact Factor is the most experienced in the field having already had six starts over fences, and his latest effort at Gowran, when just four lengths in arrears of Cilaos Emery, was his best yet.
Fans of Paloma Blue (16-1 for the Arkle) will also be watching closely as Impact Factor was almost nine lengths behind him when the pair met at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Dr Mikey burst on the chasing scene with an impressive all-the-way win at Gowran in November, but the step up to Grade 3 level at Navan the following month proved a bridge too far. He fell at the sixth there when struggling and this will be more his cup of tea.
Celtic Rising, a rare mount in Ireland for Tom Scudamore, also fell on his latest start. He came to grief five fences out at Limerick on his chasing debut, but he attracted support beforehand suggesting big things were expected.
The versatile St Stephen’s Green, the 132-rated hurdler Rider Onthe Storm and Monatomic complete the competitive field.
What they say
Robbie Power, rider of Impact Factor
He looks to have a great chance and the more rain that falls the better. His best performance over fences so far was his last one at Gowran but I put that down to the ground more than anything. He needs softer ground. He's getting the hang of things over fences and, hopefully, he can get his head in front.
Tom Taaffe, trainer of Riders Onthe Storm
I'm looking forward to him running and this will tell us what direction we're going with him. We were hoping to run him last weekend at Leopardstown but the ground just went against him. I would've preferred to have got another run into him since Christmas but that's just the way this season has been for everyone.
Emmet Mullins, trainer of St Stephens Green
He seems to be in great order but it's his first run since October so it's hard to know what to expect. It's his novice season over fences so we need to get a few runs into him, and we're looking ahead to the spring festivals for him.
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Monatomic
It was great to see him get his head in front at Down Royal. He deserved that. He's been in good form since.