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We kick-off with the biggest field of the day at Down Royal with the extended 2m maiden hurdle the first of seven-races on the card. Arctic Warrior didn’t get to race on Sunday at Naas and wears a hood on his Irish debut having been purchased by J.P McManus following one flat start when third in France last summer. The five-year-old is closely related to Arctic Fire with Willie Mullins suggesting better ground might suit him better on pedigree.
DECIMATION can boot home another winner for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore following three second place finishes so far over hurdles. The son of Milan was only beaten a neck behind Queens Brook on debut before getting turned over at Clonmel and again at Leopardstown. A tongue-tie is used to help with de Bromhead winning this race in 2018 and having a healthy 25% strike-rate with his horses over hurdles at this venue in the past five-seasons.
Shakespeare’s Word looks a danger for Padraig Roche and Darragh O’Keeffe and any market support should be noted. The son of Dubawi has some nice bumper form having raced behind Thedevilscoachman and Appreciate It last year. Kinnegad Lad returns home after winning a Musselburgh bumper with Hallowed Star another who could challenge for a place having finished behind Decimation over Christmas.
A slow jump when travelling well into the second last hurdle at Limerick didn’t help the chances of ALICE O’BYRNE when having to settle for second-place behind Moonlight Glory last month. The Henry de Bromhead trained mare is better off in the ratings today and can reverse the form with Eoin McCarthy’s runner. The former Taylorstown point-to-point winner is lightly raced over hurdles and looks a solid bet on her second start in handicap company.
Nelly’s Money should be involved in the finish on her handicap debut with Robert Tyner’s runner handed a rating of 104. She previously raced against Queens Brook and Royal Kahala in bumpers before recent placed efforts over hurdles at Limerick and Clonmel. Elsewhere, Silk Worm and Lauderdale Lady are just two others who could reach the frame in this extended 2m mares handicap hurdle.
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ON EAGLES WINGS steps back up in trip today and can land the Molson Coors Rated Novice Hurdle for trainer Timmy Hyde. The seven-year-old has excellent form alongside Ferny Hollow, Stattler and Chemical Energy and managed a bumper success at Cork last October. He raced handy and travelled well on his hurling debut before going away after the last to win his maiden at Naas in good fashion last month.
The form of that race was enhanced last Sunday with the third and fifth place horses, Limestone Rock and Il Courra finishing first and second in a maiden hurdle at Naas. Battle Of Actium is the biggest danger for me following success over stable-mate and subsequent winner Fun Light here before Chrsitmas. Clondaw Secret returns after his third to Diol Ker at Limerick with the frustrating Debuchet back on track for Gavin Cromwell.
ENVOL PIERJI gets the verdict in this 3m handicap chase and should appreciate the extra distance to score for Mark Walsh and J.P McManus. The son of Martaline seemed to enjoy the step-up in trip when third to Kavanaghs Corner at Fairyhouse in November, with the vet finding a small wound on his right-hind after the race. He’s been handed a nice break to recover by trainer Liz Doyle and can return to score here with the extra-distance looking ideal on his sixth start over fences.
Kavanaghs Corner has raced since for Henry de Bromhead when finishing third behind Wishmoor at Limerick over Christmas. The mount of Emma Twomey races on better terms today and could reverse the form with the Johnny Levins trained runner. Any market support for the other McManus owed horse, Goodnightngodbless would be interesting now returning from a fifth-place effort at Punchestown in early December.
Andrew and Gemma Brown have already tasted success this season in bumpers with Chemical Energy and have a good chance of securing another winner with CHAMPAGNE SPARKLES. The son of Masked Marvel ran a creditable third when staying on nicely behind The Banger Doyle at Punchestown in early December. He’ll have learned plenty from that run and should provide Gordon Elliott and Jamie Codd with another nice bumper winner after Three Stripe Life’s victory last Friday.
Fissa looks the biggest danger having finished third at this venue before Christmas with Patrick Mullins having a 29% strike-rate for Henry de Bromhead in the past five-seasons. The Stuart Crawford team always warrants respect in bumpers and Largy Gift can certainly get involved with a tongue-tie used today following his second-place finish at Musselburgh. The Cullentra House team won this race with Andy Dufresne in 2019 and I’d be disappointed if they don’t land it again.
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