It’s great to see continued investment in National Hunt racing from the Robcour team, who are hoping to land this opening division of the two-mile maiden hurdle (sponsored by our Paddy) for the second straight year. Tiger Voice was successful here 12 months ago, and hopefully BARNEY STINSON will be effective on debut for trainer Mouse Morris today.
He’s related to several winners with the son of Fame And Glory bought for €105,000 with Rachael Blackmore taking the ride on debut. Both reserves, Jesina and Genois would be interesting contenders if getting into the race, while any market support for the Charlie Byrnes-trained Portion Control requires serious attention as always.
MAJESTIC MAID has several good runs under her belt against good opposition to finally get off the mark over hurdles here for trainer Michael Kennedy. She managed to see off Shark Hanlon’s Dime A Dozen in a Galway bumper last year, before finishing behind Bigbadandbeautiful on several occasions last autumn.
She was pulled-up in graded company on her hurdles debut and her recent second at Punchestown in September should be good enough to see off these rivals, with Tisadream looking the main danger on Sunday.
Gordon Elliott knows what it takes to win this staying novice hurdle having won this contest with both Blood Crazed Tiger and Cracking Smart in 2016 and 2017. The Cullentra team look to have another nice contender here for Gigginstown, with the lightly raced RAGNAR LODBROK stepping up in trip under Jack Kennedy. He stayed on strongly to win his maiden hurdle at Galway in early October and ran well behind Eric Bloodaxe in a Fairyhouse bumper last December.
That race has produced plenty of good winners since, including Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hallow for trainer Willie Mullins. Jimmy Jimmy, who also runs here for Gordon Ellliott, was behind our selection in that Fairyhouse race and might struggle to reverse the form today. Elsewhere, Young Ted for the in-form Noel Meade should represent the main danger having won in impressive fashion at Punchestown in late-September with more to come under Sean Flanagan.
The feature Paddy Power sponsored Cork Grand National can once again head to the Gavin Cromwell team following success with Raz De Maree in 2016. TOKYO GETAWAY looks an interesting runner with a good profile for this race following her lightly raced runs to date over both hurdles and fences.
She might lack experience over fences, but her victories at Punchestown (over hurdles) in January and her novice chase win at Clonmel in February suggest she’ll appreciate a strong gallop and staying trip. There are no ground or fitness concerns after her recent third place finish at Limerick over hurdles and with a rating of 124 over fences and with little weight to carry, she looks nicely handicapped to run a smart race in the feature.
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