12.00 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase 2m4f
Bob Olinger should make a winning start over fences, although he faces a stiffer task than on his intended debut last weekend. A stone bruise prevented the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner from running at Punchestown but all seems well now. One of the leading ante-post fancies for this season’s festival, it will be a surprise if he doesn’t deliver at the first time of asking.
Diol Ker will pose a strong threat if getting round on this occasion. The 150-rated hurdler got no further than the first fence on his chasing debut at Cork last month but is sure to have been well-schooled since then. If there are any chinks in the favourite’s armour, then this one is best placed to advantage.
SELECTION: BOB OLINGER
Next best: Diol Ker
12.30 GAIN Beginners Chase 2m4f
Shes Some Doll has shown enough in two runs over fences to suggest she can win. A fair handicap hurdler last season, she has looked a better horse over the larger obstacles as evidenced by two second-place finishes from as many starts. The form of her initial outing has already been franked, and she had a couple of today’s rivals behind her at Thurles last time. Now racing over her optimum trip of two and a half miles, she has plenty to recommend her.
Secret Cargo, having his seventh run over fences, has more experience than most of these. Having already attained a handicap mark of 102, he sets the standard in this particular contest. On bare form, he has something to find with the Cromwell-trained mare but must be a leading contender.
SELECTION: SHES SOME DOLL
Next best: Secret Cargo
1.03 Ashgrove Stables Handicap Chase 2m4f
Ilikedwayurthinkin can complete the hat-trick despite still showing signs of inexperience. The seven-year-old rose through the ranks as a handicap hurdler two seasons back but initially disappointed once sent chasing last year. However, after landing a tidy gamble at Ballinrobe in September, he went on to add another success at Galway the following month. First-time cheekpieces are applied now in the hope that he can find further improvement.
Fan De Blues boasts a similar profile to the McManus horse in that he was a decent hurdler who took time to replicate that form over fences. After winning at Punchestown in May, he went on to take a Grade 3 chase at Galway before finishing second in similar company at Tipperary last time. On form over fences, he is undoubtedly the horse to beat but the selection may just have more scope.
Next best: Fan De Blues
1.38 Noreside Catering Irish EBF Maiden Hurdle 2m
Harry Alonzo should have derived sufficient benefit from his recent hurdling debut at Galway to get off the mark at the second attempt. A very smart bumper horse last season, the Noel Meade trained five-year-old shaped with plenty of promise behind a well-fancied rival on his reappearance. Although there are a couple of above-average novices in this field, he looks the one with the most potential.
Lonesome Boatman has run well on both starts over hurdles to date so should prove a danger. Martin Brassil has his string in tremendous form all season and this gelding will definitely win his maiden at some stage.
SELECTION: HARRY ALONZO
Next best: Lonesome Boatman
2.13 Proficient Engineering Ltd Novice Hurdle 2m
Dark Voyager should be difficult to beat given he has plenty of hurdling experience and sets a good form standard. The Willie Mullins-trained gelding was very impressive when winning at Tipperary in May but disappointed somewhat when managing only third at Galway on his next start. However, he looked much more like his old self when finishing second under top weight in the Lartigue Handicap Hurdle at Listowel. It will take a smart performance from one of his unexposed rivals to beat him.
In From The Cold, a 97-rated flat horse, made a very pleasing hurdling debut when winning at Wexford last time. The bare form of that race wouldn’t be strong enough to win but the Michael Mulvany-trained gelding is entitled to progress from the run.
SELECTION: DARK VOYAGER
Next best: In From The Cold
2.48 PRL Kilkenny Novice Handicap Hurdle 2m
Young Fitzy can complete the hat-trick here, having shown real improvement since joining Declan Queally. The son of Mustameet had plenty left when storming up the hill at Galway last time so is unlikely to be hindered by a 6lb rise. A horse in form such as this has to be followed until he is beaten.
We’ll Go Again, who looks well-treated relative to his flat form, showed plenty when second over flights at Roscommon in July. Although disappointing when reverting to the level on his next start, he can be forgiven that poor run as he is a consistent handicapper who usually runs his race.
SELECTION: YOUNG FITZY
Next best: We’ll Go Again
3.23 Holden Plant Rentals Mares Handicap Hurdle 2m4f
Miss Tempo looks very well handicapped off a mark of 103, given how well her maiden hurdle win has worked out. Even prior to that, her hurdling debut and bumper runs were very solid and she won her sole point-to-point start. The icing on the cake here is that jockey Hugh Morgan can take an additional 3lbs off her back.
Influential Lady commands respect as a course-and-distance winner, although she has creeped up the handicap of late. Having said that, her recent Navan run can be upgraded as she was racing over a trip short of her best.
SELECTION: MISS TEMPO
Next best: Influential Lady