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Balkos has shown in the past that he’s better than his current mark of 90 and Thursday could be the day he puts everything together. He ran better than his finishing position suggested last time at Punchestown, travelling well for a long way before fading towards the latter stages of that race.
That was his first run in nearly seven months, so he can be expected to improve fitness wise from it. Often is the case that he’s well found in the market, none more so than his third place in Punchestown this time last year when he was backed from 10/1 into 9/2 on the show. The drop back to 2m should suit here so if he can settle early on he’s sure to run a big race.
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This race looks to only concern a few as is the case with most maiden hurdles in Ireland and Dunboyne looks the standout to me. Gordon Elliott’s horses don’t look to be firing like Willie Mullins’ are at present, but he still managed to have a double on New Year’s Ever at Punchestown so is still among the winners.
Dunboyne, was a winner of a point-to-point from four runs in that sphere back in October and was subsequently bought by Elliott for €60k at the beginning of November. He was no match for Bob Olinger (high up in the Ballymore betting) at Navan last time but showed plenty that day to suggest that a race of this nature is well within his reach. Keith Donoghue (sponsored by the owner) maintains the partnership with him and he’s entitled to come on for his rules’ debut run which should leave him hard to beat against modest opposition.
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