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We’ve got a double header in Ireland on Sunday and the best of the action comes on the flat in Gowran. The jumps card in Downpatrick is pretty mediocre, but a couple of runners have caught my eye mind you. The weather is set fair for the weekend and the ground will be on the fast side at both venues.
GOT THE MOVES makes her handicap bow in this 7-furlong handicap and a mark of 74 looks workable based on her three maiden runs this season. She ran quite freely when making a promising debut in Sligo, while the focus seemed to be on getting her to settle next time out in Leopardstown.
She still ran pretty well in a decent maiden and her best effort came last time out in Tipperary. She travelled kindly, and stuck on well for second. Sunday’s race will be the shortest trip she has ever run over and I suspect her optimum trip will come over a little further.
There is some pace in this race, and Got The Moves looks to have a decent cruising speed. Those factors, combined with her looking well handicapped, might be enough to get her home in front here.
Over to Downpatrick for a mare’s handicap hurdle and this will be the first time APRILS JOY has run over hurdles since beating a solid yardstick in a Kilbeggan maiden hurdle. She didn’t have a lot of luck over fences last summer, but her comeback on the Flat last month was full of promise.
10 furlongs that day wasn’t enough of a stamina test and she was still arguably unlucky, having to wait for a run while the protagonists kicked on. She finished really well for third. That wasn’t a great race granted, but the fifth gave the form a boost on Thursday. She remains relatively unexposed, and the handicapper gives her a chance. This race won’t take much winning and Aprils Joy should go very close.
Regular readers won’t be surprised to hear that I fancy LONGACRE SQUARE. This unexposed son of Jeremy carries top weight in this handicap, but he has also gets the benefit of Jordan Gainford’s valuable claim. The only clouds on his horizon are that he got a 7lbs hike in the weights for making a winning handicap bow at this track over a furlong further on soft ground.
While I would prefer a stiffer stamina test for him, it’s not a huge worry. He had the race won turning for home that day and the narrow winning margin doesn’t reflect his superiority. The second that day was a horse of reasonable ability on the Flat, so he might yet prove well handicapped over hurdles.
The front two pulled well clear of the third and in that context, the 7lbs rise doesn’t appear excessive. Longacre Square has run well on good ground over hurdles before, so I’d be very hopeful he’ll win here before going on to better things in his career.
Back to Gowran for a mile handicap and NEYLAND can go well here at what should prove rewarding odds and I reckon her last couple of runs can be marked up. Her sixth-place finish on penultimate start came in a race where it proved very difficult to come from off the pace. Her latest effort wasn’t bad either, particularly when factoring in that it came in a significantly higher grade than she races in on Sunday.
She didn’t have a great trip that day either, having to wait for a run a couple of times. She stuck on well in the end though to be beaten a little over 4 lengths. There are a few pace angles in this race, so that should ensure this hold up performer gets a fair crack of the whip. She races off a competitive mark, and the booking of crack claimer Dylan Browne McMonagle catches the eye. She rates a sporting wager and the extra place offered by Paddy sweetens the deal.
KALAROUN is worth chancing in the handicap that closes the card and he competed in three hot Curragh maidens as a two-year-old. His seasonal comeback in Dundalk was a little underwhelming, but that was another maiden that worked out well mind you.
That run came in March and it’s a slight worry we haven’t seen him since. On the plus side, the Halford horses appear to be in better form now. He was a bit tapped for toe in Dundalk, but did at least display a pleasing attitude in plugging on for sixth. The step up in trip on Sunday promises to suit, while the handicapper hasn’t gone overboard with his opening mark. Hopefully, he can begin to build on that juvenile promise here.
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