HAMMERSMITH sets a reasonable standard that is not unattainable, but there are enough reasons to have second thoughts about supporting obvious contenders such as Wojood and Annie Pender, so he gets the vote.
A good novice hurdle. Saint D’Oroux is good enough to win a novice hurdle, but might find a couple too good.
The battle-hardened Lynwood Gold acts on any ground and has a big chance, but the Willie Mullins-trained filly FINEST EVERMORE looked a real prospect with the quality of her performance at Tipperary and can improve enough to land this.
Several of these are in splendid form, but SO NEAR SO FARHH (NAP) was impressive when dismissing subsequent winner Supreme Vinnie at Punchestown last time and will take stopping.
Hewick has gone up 17lb in the weights for his two wins and faces softer ground here, but is a danger.
Born By The Sea won’t be far away either.
An open handicap hurdle in which most of them make limited appeal.
Woodbrook Boy is of obvious interest here off a hurdles mark some 30lb lower than his chase mark, but handicap debutant MY FRIEND THE WIND comes from a stable that is never far off the mark in handicaps around here and could take beating.
Like the first division, competitive but not many make much appeal. Northern Love and Midland Millie have absences to overcome, Cluan Dara doesn’t win too often, and neither does Knockraha Boss.
Another that doesn’t win too often is CRACK ON CORRIE, but she has dropped to a mark of 80 and might just have been given a chance. She should come on a good bit for her return to action at Kilbeggan.
Both Crazyheart and VENEZIANO SPRINGS ran well in recent pipe-openers but preference is for the last-named, who was an eyecatcher at Killarney, just getting tired late on.
Allardyce goes well in testing ground but lacks a recent run.
There are ifs and buts about most of these, but DEADHEAT was a decent sort in France and won well enough at Wexford last time, so could defy a 7lb rise.
Something Sweet looks likely to be involved, while Sir Bob would be interesting if strong in the market.
As good a winner’s bumper as we are likely to see for a while.
Ardla looked a lovely prospect when winning at Punchestown and no doubt will be just that, but takes on two very smart Gordon Elliott horses.
Weseekhimhere impressed at Galway, but stable companion MARS HARPER was equally impressive at Ballinrobe with subsequent winner Jesse Evans back in third and just about gets the nod.
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