MERROIR is having a first run for new trainer Joseph O’Brien and looks good enough to win this open looking handicap. The daughter of Born To Sea remains a maiden after nine career starts and returns from a break by continuing to drop down the ratings, running off 61 under Shane Crosse. She ran well when placed twice at Galway and Tramore last August and stayed on well for fourth behind Curious Bride at Cork in September.
The Noel Meade-trained winner went on to win over hurdles at Punchestown on Monday, with the second horse home, Pure Nature claiming three middle-distance handicaps here at Dundalk between late September and early December for Adrian McGuinness. That form looks solid and the small drop in trip for Merroir should prove positive, with Rita Levi, Ragtime Red and Ms Thompson looking the biggest dangers in a race where Paddy is paying 4 places.
The second division of this handicap doesn’t get any easier, but once again Paddy is paying 4 places which helps in such an open contest. The 7lb allowance Sam Ewing takes off LATCHET catches my eye, with the Leanne Breen trained runner also dropping down to a rating of 53. The seven-year-old finished fifth on both recent starts at this track and wasn’t beaten far in bunch finishes under Gavin Ryan and Kevin Manning.
She’s previously managed to win over course and distance off a rating of 65 in October 2019, so she’s clearly capable of being involved. Malbas has a wide draw in stall 17 for Denis Hogan and Joey Sheridan with Florence Thompson wearing a hood for the first time for Eddie Lynam. Elsewhere, Amarantha, Getaway Queen, Storm Elza and Crest Of A Wave are other contenders in a wide-open affair.
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I’m staying with the extra-place action from our Paddy on Wednesday evening with 4 places on offer in this 1m handicap. BOASTY is having his second Irish start for Fergal Birrane, with Epsom Derby winning jockey Emmet McNamara once again in the saddle. The lightly raced four-year-old won nicely over this trip on his final UK start at Kempton for Charlie Fellows before been quickly sold for 20,000 guineas to the Killala House Partnership.
His fifth-place finish over course and distance in late November wasn’t a bad performance, only beaten 1½ lengths in a bunch finished behind Time And Money. The son of Sir Prancealot runs off the same rating of 68 and can find more to challenge for victory at a nice price. Elsewhere, the consistent Kudbegood runs off a 3lbs higher mark for John McConnell, with the slightly unlucky Dark Magic another for the shortlist now back up in trip.
BLASTOFMAGIC was doing his best work late on in all three previous starts here over 5 furlongs since late November and can benefit for the extra furlong to win this closing 6f handicap. The seven-year-old returns quickly having finished third behind Hodd’s Girl last Friday with Shane Foley once again in the saddle. Dusty Foley knows the horse well and the harder they race upfront, the better a chance for Ger O’Leary’s runner to record his fourth career victory.
Elsewhere, the drop in trip and new visor could suit Caesar’s Comet for James McAuley and Chris Hayes following his dead-heat victory with Sunset Nova last Friday. Sam Ewing takes off 7lbs from Togoville for Anthony McCann, while Sabrina Fairchild, Jered Maddox and Amazing One could also challenge for a place, with Paddy handing out 4 places in the lucky last.
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