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The opening action is a five furlong handicap with a few previous course and distance winners in the line-up. Poets Pride was an impressive winner last time out and really sets the standard to run another big race but I fancy It’s All A Joke to go well. This gelding ran a massive race in defeat the last day as he was off the track for more than 160 days and was only beaten just under two lengths.
He was previously trained by Adrian McGuiness before switching stables to John McConnell and should strip fitter for his comeback run. I’d expect him to be bang there at the finish.
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A 1m 4f handicap with five last-time out winners so a really competitive race in store. Drakensberg sets the standard with two wins back to back and will be very hard to beat if repeating either of those wins. However, I fancy Vermilion Cliffs, an ex Aidan O’ Brien recruit who hasn’t seen a racetrack since last October when winning quite comfortably, staying on very strongly in the closing stages.
Vermilion Cliffs is now trained by Denis Hogan whose stable is going quite well with a win and a second out of his last three runners. The step up in trip should really suit this colt, and also the application of first-time cheekpieces should bring about further improvement.
A 1m maiden where Aidan O Brien’s runner Baton Rouge reappears after an absence of 200 days. He was a beaten favourite at Cork when last seen, weakening in the final furlong to finish third.
The O’ Brien stable is flying with six winners from his last 10 runners (60% strike rate) and this is his only runner on the card., while jockey Seamie Heffernan has a 24% strike rate in the last two weeks from all his rides.
Baton Rogue wears a first-time tongue tie and I expect this colt to finally get his head in front and break his maiden tag.
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