There are two ordinary mares maiden hurdles to kick off proceedings and in the second division, there’s every chance Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell can register their first winner of the new season with BIOVERDIA. A very impressive winner of a Ballinrobe bumper in April of last year, the five-year-old ran in two hugely competitive bumpers after that, won by Gypsy Island and Bigbadandbeautiful, before running admirably when fourth behind Barrington Court and Getaway Gorgeous at Punchestown last February. This task represents a huge drop in class and while Bonarc has some decent place form from last season, Bioverdia should be winning this in no uncertain fashion.
A good maiden hurdle for this time of the year and ONLYHUMAN probably sets the standard on the back of some fine runs on the Flat. A winner of competitive handicaps at Limerick and Tipperary last year, Jessica Harrington’s inmate ran a fine race when a narrow fifth in the Paddy Power Irish Lincoln at the Curragh 12 days ago. That should have put him spot in for this and having finished third on his only hurdle start to date, at Thurles in March, he should have no excuses here.
18.10: Sneaky Getaway
Another good class of maiden hurdle and judged on what he’s achieved on the Flat so far, it would be a surprise if SNEAKY GETAWAY didn’t win over timber at the first time of asking. A dual bumper winner, Emmet Mullins’ 7-year-old was last seen when eighth in the English Cesarewitch at Newmarket last October and will be a tough nut to crack.
Henry De Bromhead is likely to have a say if the selection is turned over and while point-to-point winner Premium Package looks potentially interesting, Bloodstone could be the value of the pair. He followed home Ferny Hollow in a point-to-point 16 months ago and ran too bad to be true when fancied in a Thurles bumper last January. He looks the main danger to Sneaky Getaway.
19.10: Bothar Dubh
The feature race on the card and plenty of familiar names in the line-up. Gordon Elliott is likely to have a say with three runners and it’s worth noting that Davy Russell has sided with Get Out The Gate, who has his first run for the yard since joining from Jim Goldie. There’s every chance he could be well handicapped off 128 having previously being rated 142.
However, preference goes for top weight BOTHAR DUBH, who’s been hugely consistent for Declan Queally. His only bad run in the last 18 months was his most recent effort at Punchestown in February, when he was bogged down by the heavy ground, and he generally runs in better class races than this. It’s also a positive that he runs well fresh and looks way overpriced here on his overall form.
19.40: CONOR’S JOY
For the second time this week, Willie Mullins will be responsible for a bumper favourite but it’s worth bearing in mind how the champion trainer’s horses have been faring since the restart. All six of his runners have appeared in need of the run and Negroni, the favourite for Monday’s mares bumper at Limerick, seemed to hit a flat spot before getting a second wind.
That means there’s likely to be value elsewhere and that could be with Peter Fahey’s CONOR’S JOY, a half-brother to Sempo. Fahey tends to do well with his summer bumper performers and has trained two winners since racing resumed last Monday week. Aine O’Connor is a notable booking too.
Tips for Roscommon in summary