1:15 Nevilles Bar and Restaurant Irish EBF Maiden Hurdle (Div I) 2m 3f
The Road To Fame put in a good shift on hurdles debut when third behind Glengouly and a reproduction of that effort should be enough to land this. Eoin Doyle’s seven-year-old didn’t jump with much fluency but kept on well up the run-in to only go down by two lengths. If his jumping is a little slicker on this occasion, he should be tough to beat.
Speed Gang makes his racecourse debut and can go well for Gavin Cromwell and Keith Donoghue. He’s ran in three points to date, finishing an unlucky second the last day at Kirkistown when beating a subsequent winner into third. It would be no surprise to see him involved for a stable in top form.
SELECTION: THE ROAD TO FAME
Next best: Speed Gang
1:45 Nevilles Bar And Restaurant Irish EBF Maiden Hurdle (Div II) 2m 3f
This looks a perfect opportunity for Pats Choice to shed his maiden tag. Gordon Elliott’s gelding found only a Willie Mullins odds-on favourite too good at Leopardstown and that form is the standout on offer. The pair were well clear of the third that day.
Perhaps Double Talkin Jive could be the best of the rest. He ran a blinder on the flat at Killarney on his debut for Willie Mullins, only going down by a short head. He found his Naas assignment a little hot the last day where Albert Bartlett winner The Nice Guy picked up the prize, and perhaps this easier assignment could see him to better effect.
SELECTION: PATS CHOICE
Next best: Double Talkin Jive
2:16 BetVictor Proudly Supporting Irish Racing Mares Hurdle 2m
This is a good mares’ race but it’s hard to get away from Gjoumi’s performance when she destroyed the field at Gowran Park, with 44 lengths the official winning distance. Her luck was due a change and although not beating much, she looked in top form and would be no surprise should she back that up. The drying ground is the only worry but officials are watering the track ahead of racing, and that should leave it just right.
If the prime Santa Rossa arrives in this contest she would be the one to beat, but Dermot McLoughlin’s mare hasn’t been seen in over a year. She has won off a layoff before, and it would be no surprise should she be involved but this is a tough ask, so Sit Down Lucy is the pick of the remainder. Peter Fahey’s mare has performed with credit this season and deserves a second chance after a disappointing effort on her previous run.
Next best: Santa Rossa
2:51 Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle 2m
Na Caith Tobac seemed to bounce back to form at Leopardstown and can be competitive again off a 2lb higher mark. Paul Flynn’s gelding just went down by a head to Golden Spear and a reproduction of that effort should see him go close. Kieran Quigley has been booked for the ride and his 2lb claim compensates the handicapper’s reassessment.
Rock On Seamie hasn’t been seen since October but has run well fresh in the past and perhaps can chase the selection home. Ray Hackett’s seven-year-old was a gutsy winner at Navan last September and comes into this off a 6lb higher mark but may well go close again.
SELECTION: NA CAITH TOBAC
Next best: Rock On Seamie
3:26 BetVictor Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase (Grade 3) 3m 120yds
Egality Mans is the one to beat in the feature. The very lightly raced eight-year-old, owned by the Donnellys, has had his fair share of misfortune, falling twice in the last year when in contention.
However he got it together last time when he oozed class at Wexford, scoring easily over this trip and that effort could serve as a confidence boost.
Willie Mullins said on that occasion that he’s a proper staying chaser and one for the Irish Grand National down the line. He’s the one they have to catch.
Lifetime Ambition tackles three miles for the first time since his point days and is interesting. He was sent off favourite for the Drinmore at Fairyhouse in November where he finished fourth and he just couldn’t get by Delvino at Naas the last day.
The way he finished that day suggested a step up in trip might suit and he ought to go well.
SELECTION: EGALITY MANS
Next best: Lifetime Ambition
4:01 Tote Always SP Or Better Handicap Chase 2m 3f 120yds
Minx Tiara sneaks into this event off a mark 7lbs lower than her hurdles assessment and she can go well for David O’Brien and Sean Flanagan. The last time she was seen over fences was at this venue 12 months ago where she found only the useful Scarlet And Dove too good, and she won with considerable ease at Thurles prior to that.
She’s been running with great credit over hurdles since, including when beaten only five lengths by Royal Kahala at Leopardstown in December.
Mister Bells returns after a layoff and if able to recapture his form from last summer then he won’t be far away. Paul Nolan’s gelding excelled over fences last term winning twice and placing twice in as many runs before losing his way a little. One of those victories came at Limerick, and if he can produce his best here, he should go well.
SELECTION: MINX TIARA
Next best: Mister Bells
4:35 Pat & Eileen O’Mara Memorial Novice Handicap Chase 2m 1f 110yds
Sil Ver Klass never looked right at Thurles the last day but there was so much to like about his Fairyhouse win in January that he’s worth another chance.
He made smooth headway throughout and won cosily at the line on ground that will be similar to what’s expected here. He runs off an 8lb higher mark but Bryan Cooper is back in the plate and it would be no surprise to see him go well.
Nelly’s Money finally broke his duck over fences when winning at Wexford the last day in a beginners’ event and returns to handicaps now. He was second behind the selection at Fairyhouse and returns here off a mark of 113.
SELECTION: SIL VER KLASS
Next best: Nelly’s Money
5:10 Kevin McManus Bookmaker Champion (Pro/Am) Flat Race (Listed) 2m
This is all about Mercurey. Willie Mullins’ four-year-old was as short as 8/1 in the betting for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham after destroying his rivals on his debut at Gowran on Thyestes Chase Day. He looks a very smart prospect and will be tough to beat.
Stablemate Impulsive Dancer will give the selection most to think about. He looked sharp when winning a Naas bumper for Richard O’Brien and changed to the champion trainer afterwards.
Next best: Impulsive Dancer