Native Scout can get back on winning trail

THE talented and consistent Native Scout can provide the answer to the Gowla Power-Pak Chase at Tipperary this evening.

The ground is sure to be testing and Donie Hassett’s seven-year-old will revel in those conditions.

He won twice last season, at Wexford and Uttoxeter, but ran his best race in defeat in the Arkle Cup at Leopardstown in January when beaten a length into second spot by Bust Out.

The selection’s latest effort saw him contest the Grand Annual Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He was hampered three out, but recovered quickly to finish a creditable seventh of 21 behind Palarshan.

Only four are set to go to post for the opening Limerick Junction Race and it will be a surprise if this isn’t dominated by Kevin Prendergast’s once-raced Wathab and Aidan O’Brien’s newcomer, Haydn, a son of Stravinsky.

The Ballydoyle juveniles, so far, have nearly all needed a run and preference is for Wathab, three and a half lengths runner-up to Dermot Weld’s smart Steel Light at the Curragh.

Weld’s Maid To Order is a hopeful choice in the Ashtown House Stud Maiden.

She performed very poorly, when an odds-on favourite, behind Rain Lily at Listowel on her seasonal debut.

The daughter of Zafonic didn’t wear blinkers then, they are back on now, and she had them when running her best race to date at Punchestown back in October.

Maid To Order handled the soft ground on that occasion, beaten just over a length into fourth spot behind Powerscourt, Latino Magic and Dalcassian, in a contest which has worked out really well.

At Ballinrobe tonight, Michael Grassick’s Irish Empire gets the nap to land the Flannery’s Bar and Restaurant Novice Hurdle.

The five-year-old missed an opportuntity when Cork was abandoned on Monday, but this looks even more suitable.

A useful sort on the flat, he had a spin at the Curragh last month, Irish Empire showed of promise on his only outing over flights when sixth to Nil Desperandum at Punchestown in December.

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