The opening six-furlong maiden at Naas this Saturday looks a three-way battle between Tar Heel, Perfect Sign and our selection STREET KID, who all have previous racecourse experience. The trainers of all three horses are in excellent form with several winners this week and Jessica Harrington’s son of Street Boss gets the verdict under jockey Shane Foley.
He was a little green on debut at Navan when just beaten into second place in a close finish behind the Ken Condon-trained Laws Of Indices and should show natural improvement with a small increase in trip to help win this maiden on his second start.
Elsewhere, Tar Heel for Joseph O’Brien has the most experience having finished fourth on debut at Navan and second at Tipperary just over two-weeks ago.
Perfect Sign gets weight from the boys and cannot be discounted for in-form Johnny Murtagh, who already saddled a nice winner for the Qatar Racing team earlier this week – the daughter of Charm Spirit was fourth on debut behind Sussex Garden at Naas last month.
A small field do battle in the Coolmore Fillies Spirit Stakes where Jessica Harrington has managed to win two of the previous three renewals of this Group 3 contest with Alpha Centauri and Servalan.
This year the in-form trainer saddles Sussex Garden who showed a nice turn of foot to win over course and distance two-weeks ago under jockey Shane Foley. Perfect Sign (who was fourth in that maiden) could boost the form with a good run in the opener, but MOTHER EARTH is our selection for Aidan O’Brien.
The daughter of Zoffany found Frenetic to hot to handle on debut at Navan, with that winner landing a Listed event last weekend for trainer Ger Lyons. She stayed on well behind impressive winner Dandalla in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot and should break her maiden in this Group 3.
Luminesce is also worth a note of consideration having made a winning debut at Fairyhouse for Ger Lyons, while the Condon-trained Inner Beauty races quickly following victory at Limerick earlier this week.
The form of the Johnny Murtagh stable continues to remain solid with several nice winners this week, including Know It All in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Fillies Stakes at Leopardstown on Wednesday.
I’m happy to side with Murtagh in this 7-furlong handicap with the hope KOKURA can return to winning ways following a mid-division finish at Leopardstown 20 days ago.
Despite finishing seventh in that race under Ben Cohen, the winner Confidence High returned this week to finish a solid second behind Sinawann in the Amethyst Stakes on Wednesday. The son of Fountain of Youth landed his maiden at Dundalk in February and now runs off an official mark of 78 and has Danny Sheehy in the saddle taking off a valuable 5lbs.
Elsewhere, top-weight Darkest has a chance for Aidan O’Brien and Wayne Lordan, with Funny Little Ways and Star Of Cashel the other leading contenders.
The Gordon Elliott team returned with a welcome winner at Tipperary on Wednesday with the gambled on Mr Jackman and the Cullentra handler can take this opening mares maiden hurdle at Bellewstown with BIOVERDIA.
Elliott teams-up with jockey Davy Russell and this race won’t take a great deal of winning as his five-year-old mare returns quickly after a fall at Roscommon ten days ago.
She went off favourite for that race but looked beaten when falling at the last and her previous form looks good enough to see off this opposition. She finished a good sixth behind Gypsy Island in a Grade 3 bumper at Punchestown last year, before a fourth-place finish on her hurdles debut in February.
That form has worked out well this week, with the winner Barrington Court returning for Jessica Harrington and winning again at Tipperary on Wednesday.
Race fitness will play a major focus in this handicap hurdle and I believe trainer Gordon Elliott can secure another winner with his young four-year-old BRAWNY who could be nicely handicapped.
The mount of jockey Luke Dempsey made a good return when finishing sixth at Tipperary eight-days ago and runs in a handicap for the first time off a mark of 102.
Keep an eye on Soloheadbeg earlier on the card at 15:55 for Henry de Bromhead – that horse was fourth and just ahead of our selection at Tipperary and a good performance from that horse would be another positive for the Elliott runner.
Elsewhere and staying with de Bromhead, Accidental Rebel cannot be discounted with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle, with Benefit North another lively contender.
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