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The second division of the 2m4f maiden hurdle won’t take much winning and there’s only a handful of these runners which merit serious consideration. James Fort has two nice runs to his name this season, particularly his recent second-placed effort behind Coach Carter, while Henry’s Star’s recent run at Fairyhouse would most definitely give him a chance. However, while he’s already had 13 runs over hurdles, it’s probably safe to say that Takarengo won’t get a better opportunity than the one he’s been given here.
Third in last year’s English Cesarewitch behind Great White Shark, Tom Mullins’ five-year-old has been costly to follow this season but his recent run at Leopardstown earlier this month suggests that the penny is finally dropping over timber. In his defence, he has run in some hot contests over the past few months, won by the likes of Holymacapony, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Torygraph, and this is nowhere near that calibre of races. The trip of 2m4f looks perfect for him, judged on his recent run, and it would be a surprise if he wasn’t good enough to win here.
A competitive handicap hurdle, the feature race on the card, and plenty in with chances on current form. Southerner and Dromore Lad are previous course winners while Rebel Early and Ciao Bella come here after encouraging wins at Navan and Fairyhouse respectively. However, Dermot McLoughlin is doubly represented and he has a great chance of taking this prize with Thunderosa, which steps back up to three miles.
Well beaten over an inadequate 2m4f last month, the Westerner gelding was an easy winner over three miles at Punchestown prior to that and his only previous try over that trip saw him finish third to the bang in-form Ballyshannon Rose in January. While a nine-year-old, he’s only raced eight times under rules and he could be still ahead of the handicapper of a mark of 111, with PJ O’Hanlon taking off a further seven pounds. If you’re looking for value at Cork, Thunderosa could be the horse you’re after this Thursday.
It’s been a mixed few months for Gavin Cromwell to say the very least. Up until the start of March, the Meath handler had only trained two winners, from 61 runners, in the entirety of 2021 but how things have turned around since then. In the last three weeks alone, he’s trained seven winners, including a Cheltenham festival double, and his runners seem to have a new lease of life about them. And that could be the case with She’s Some Doll.
Well beaten at Clonmel in January, the daughter of Yeats was a ready winner at Limerick’s Christmas meeting, just one of two for the trainer during that period. She managed to win that day in spite of the ground, according to connections afterwards, and she looks well treated off a mark off 101 here. And what’s even more encouraging is that She’s Some Doll’s jockey Joey Dunne has won on his last two rides for Cromwell too.
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This concluding bumper, for lady riders, looks a two-horse race on form and it’s also significant that two of the more familiar named jockeys get the leg up on this duo. Polla Milano is sure to be sent off favourite on the back of her third-placed effort at Thurles last month, despite being easy to back on the day. She had previously won a point-to-point at Boulta and with Jody Townend up, it will be no surprise to see her sent off at a short price.
However, there was no apparent excuse for her recent defeat and it might be worth opposing her with Awesome Shirocco. John Kiely’s filly ran too keen when reeled in at Wexford 16 days ago but prior to that, she went close in a maiden hurdle at Clonmel when well-supported beforehand. The booking of Maxine O’Sullivan is a positive and she might have what it takes to lower the colours of Polla Milano.
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