MATTHEW FLINDERS has improved on every start of his career so far and looks primed to take another step forward. The step back up to a mile-and-a-quarter looks like it will suit and 5lbs for his latest win looks lenient. I would be quite hopeful that he will be involved in the finish here.
This looks a very strong race though I was so taken by THUNDER MOON at the Curragh last time that I’m convinced he’s capable of winning this. The turn of foot he showed last time marked him out as a potentially special horse, and despite the strong opposition, I think he’ll make it three-from-three here.
A really competitive renewal of the Cesarewitch as usual, but JUKEBOX JIVE looks worth playing with Paddy offering a massive seven places here. Useful when trained by Anthony Honeyball, he was rated 100 at his peak before losing his way a bit when he switched to Jamie Osbourne.
This time last year he moved to Gavin Cromwell and the switch of stables did him wonders, as he was quite impressive when winning the November handicap at Naas on his first start for Cromwell. That looked a really strong renewal with Buildmeupbuttercup in second, Halimi in third – who won a premier handicap this season. Meanwhile, the re-opposing Lynwood Gold, Great White Shark and Dalton Highway were all well behind.
He got 8lbs for that, but the rise was deserved and he remains well treated on his previous form. He has had two hurdles run since that win, but jumping isn’t really his game and he has an absence to overcome. However, this may well have been a long-term plan. He looks worth taking a chance on.
This is very uncompetitive handicap hurdle for the grade and there’s only one horse that stands out, JIVING JERRY. He was well supported when being beaten into third at Gowran Park recently, but there was a lot more depth to that race. He should make it two wins from his last three starts here.
This lightly raced horse competed in some top-class races as a novice hurdler, including a very creditable fourth in a Group 1 at Aintree behind Champ. In his chasing debut last year WALK AWAY was a fine second to Faugheen. He only ran twice more and went missing after running behind Allaho at Fairyhouse.
The upside of this is that he starts the season off a very lenient looking mark of 136 and goes very well fresh. He looks the class angle to the race and no doubt connections will have him spot on for this.
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Saturday 14:35 York – Matthew Flinders (Adam Killeen)
Saturday 14:55 Newmarket – Thunder Moon (Niall O’Reilly)
Saturday 15:35 Newmarket – Jukebox Jive (Frank Hickey)
Saturday 17:00 Fairyhouse – Jiving Jerry (Ryan McCue)
Sunday 16:00 Limerick – Walk Away (Conor Magner)
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