1.55 Dillon Quirke Foundation Mares Beginners Chase 2m 2f

Paul Townend can make his first ride back in Ireland after the Cheltenham Festival a winning one thanks to Pont Aval, who rattled the crossbar when runner-up in a similar event at Clonmel 16 days ago. She wasn’t as smart as Nell’s Well over hurdles but the selection’s trio of runs in beginners’ chases give her a real experience edge. That rival has also been absent since last November.

Choice Of Words represents Martin Brassil, whose horses have been running well in defeat of late. She fell on her chasing debut but has some smart hurdles form to her name and hadn’t been jumping badly on her debut over fences behind Telmesomethinggirl in January.


Next best: Choice Of Words

2.30 Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase (Grade 3) 2m 2f

Mouse Morris won this race 12 months ago with Ryanair Chase fourth French Dynamite and that classy chaser’s half-brother Indiana Jones can follow suit for the Everardsgrange trainer in what looks a good opportunity. The Blue Bresil gelding must concede weight to all rivals here but has been in the form of his life since making the breakthrough over fences last month at Punchestown. There was loads to like about how he put the race to bed last time when winning the Grade 3 Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan a fortnight ago.

The talented Flame Bearer, trained by Willie Mullins, was disappointing in third on that occasion and is difficult to trust now, for all that he is 7lb better off with Indiana Jones here. Sole Pretender may not be far away if the ground dries out, but he won’t appreciate the possible rainfall


Next best: Flame Bearer

3.05 Jimmy Neville Memorial Handicap Chase 2m 4f 118yds

Cahirdown Boy traded nearly as short as 1/10 in the in-running exchange markets here last time when reeled in close home over two miles and six furlongs, but he could be set to make amends now dropping back in trip for this handicap chase, albeit it isn’t ideal that he has to step up in grade slightly. Slower ground this time around shouldn’t inconvenience him given he has some useful form on soft and heavy going.

Last-time-out winner Truckers Angel is now 7lb higher but still competes off a lovely, low weight when factoring in John Shinnick’s claim. Routine Excellence has been pulled up in his two starts either side of an admirable second to Maxxum at Navan in November. He may show better now reverting to fences.


Next best: Routine Excellence

3.40 Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle 2m

This doesn’t look the deepest of maiden hurdles, a race confined to trainers who have not saddled more than 20 winners under rules in the 2021/22 National Hunt season. Fresh from a landmark Cheltenham Festival success last Tuesday with Marine Nationale, Barry Connell and Michael O’Sullivan could be able to strike with Quirke’s Gate, who has shown flashes of ability in better maiden hurdles than this.

He hasn’t been as progressive as might have been initially hoped when catching the eye in second behind Hunters Yarn at Naas in January but he sets the standard here. He can confirm the form of that Naas run with third-placed Tophill Low, who needs to show more than last time when safety held behind Supreme Novices’ Hurdle third Diverge.


Next best: Tophill Low

4.15 End Of The Season Hurdle 2m 7f

Asterion Forlonge can’t be described as the most reliable of characters but there’s little doubting he’s a very talented operator and he should have too much for these rivals if sharp enough on his first start since finishing a respectable seventh to A Plus Tard in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. A hold-up earlier this season means we haven’t got to see the former Grade 1-winning novice hurdler yet in the current campaign but Willie Mullins is well able to win with horses on the back of substantial absences. Reverting to hurdles should be a positive too, given his tendency to make critical mistakes over fences. Summerville Boy was no match for Stayers’ Hurdle second Teahupoo when runner-up in the Galmoy Hurdle last time but that was a positive enough effort in the circumstances and he has a race-sharpness edge on his side.

Lifetime Ambition’s connections will surely have one eye on a Grand National bid and this should set him up nicely for the trip to Aintree.

He is a much better chaser than hurdler, though, so a watching brief is probably best when it comes to this assignment.


Next best: Summerville Boy

4.50 Leugh Handicap Hurdle 2m 7f

Killinure Lass’ second at Punchestown two starts ago suggested she could be up to winning a similar level of contest in the not too distant future, and she could be able to get her turn here if bouncing back from a slightly disappointing sixth at Clonmel when last seen. The form of her penultimate start was also boosted when the third-placed Rochestown won next time at Punchestown. The Brian McMahon-trained mare may represent some each-way value in a tricky handicap hurdle.

Shantou Lucky is a better chaser than hurdler but has a chance in this grade on the pick of his hurdles form, while Cher Why Not has won around here before and is capable of springing a surprise if bringing his ‘A’ game.


Next best: Shantou Lucky

5.20 www.thurlesraces.ie (Pro/Am) Bumper 2m

Some guesswork in this four-year-old-only contest as eight of the 11 runners are debutants, Willie Mullins is not represented and Gordon Elliott’s sole contender looks vulnerable to an unexposed rival. The market could prove informative in relation to the unraced challengers.

Henry de Bromhead isn’t renowned for debut bumper winners but Factual Fact, by Authorized, has some smart flat types on the dam’s side of his pedigree and could potentially be sharp enough to make an impact here. The booking of Jamie Codd for Stuart Crawford’s Affinisea newcomer Fourtowns is interesting, and the same goes for Patrick Mullins’ call-up to ride Mount Nelson debutant Perfect Nelson for Peter Fahey.

I Wont Back Down, by Champs Elysees, makes some appeal on paper for Sam Curling and Derek O’Connor, but a chance is taken on the Paul Nolan-trained Maxi Mac Gold, an €80,000 purchase last year by Doctor Dino.


Next best: I Wont Back Down