BRAID BLUE is running over fences for the first time on Thursday for trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Davy Russell following a successful spell over hurdles last year and he can make the transition over the bigger obstacles to win this beginners chase.
The seven-year-old was an excellent money spinner for connections, winning four consecutive races over hurdles in 2019 – three at Perth and one at Ffos Las between April and July. He also ended the calendar year with a good run when second at Cheltenham last October, reaching an official rating of 145 over hurdles.
He was the best of these over hurdles, so will hopefully have enough class to take to fences and give Elliot another victory in this race following success with Chicago Grey in 2010. Doctor Duffy reached 141 over hurdles and was behind our selection in that novice hurdle at Prestbury Park last October, but has previous experience over fences this summer at Tipperary and Roscommon.
His recent second as a beaten odds-on favourite behind Mcgiloney puts him in the mix for trainer Charles Byrnes and jockey Cathal Landers. Karl Der Grosse is an interesting recruit to chasing for the Willie Mullins team, who have landed the last two renewals of this race with both Minella Beau (2018) and Dandy Mag (2019).
The Ricci-owned runner was pulled up on his last two starts earlier this year at Thurles in February and March, but might find some spark over fences and any movement in the betting market should be noted.
Elsewhere, Roman Rock has some recent experience for Mouse Morris over fences, while Court Maid, with some decent form over hurdles looks an intriguing runner for Tom Mullins.
ACCLAMATIO stands out as another Tony Martin/John Breslin runner this week that looks nicely handicapped to secure victory in this two-mile handicap hurdle, while also holding an entry here on Friday.
The six-year-old remains a maiden over hurdles after nine-starts and rated 95 today with go to jockey Robbie Power booked to ride. Power guided Tudor City to success for this team last year in the Galway Hurdle. The son of Acclamation has been mixing his races over hurdles and the flat over the past year, but looks a horse just being primed for a half decent pot at the Festival.
He made a comeback from a winter break at Bellewstown in a handicap hurdle earlier this month when fourth to Elegant Lass and had another recent spin in mid-division on the level at Leopardstown last week. He’s getting some nice weight (carries 11-stone) from several inconsistent rivals with better ratings and it’s extremely hard to see him out of the frame.
Recent Bellewstown winner, Cornakill Rose drops in trip for trainer Paddy Magee with Thousand Tears, Stylish Moment and Roachdale House others on the short-list who might run well.
PASS THE BALL is one of several veterans hoping to bounce back to winning ways in this three-mile handicap hurdle towards the backend of the Galway card this Thursday evening.
The Niall Madden trained 11-year-old returns to hurdles for the first time since November 2018, when finishing down the field off a 126 rating and now runs off a 7lbs lower mark (119). His two recent starts since a winter break has put him spot on fitness wise to run a credible race here and hopefully reach the frame under jockey Slippers Madden.
He wasn’t beaten far on the flat at Leopardstown last month, before coming home fifth to Rock Road at Kilbeggan – he wasn’t knocked about when beaten two out and should appreciate the step-up in trip today.
Victoria Bay, third at Kilbeggan, is another for the short list for trainer Colin Bowe. Meanwhile, Ice Cold Soul for Noel Meade, who was also down the field in the same race should run better today. Cooldine Bog has been racing well with two third place finishes at Roscommon and Gowran, while another veteran The Trigger has been in great form with victories at Tipperary, Kilbeggan and Limerick this month.
Elsewhere, the Henry de Bromhead trained youngster Tune The Chello gets plenty of weight here and warrants plenty of respect on a first handicap run off a mark of 109 under Robbie Power.
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