Trafford Lad set to step up a gear

TRAFFORD LAD is napped to leave a moderate first effort over fences well behind by landing the Grade 3 A Space Cabins Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown this afternoon.

He returned to action on this track last month, going off a heavily-backed favourite to see off four rivals. Trafford Lad was eventually beaten a short head by Rare Bob, but got the contest in the stewards’ room, after suffering minor interference on the run in.

Rare Bob did nothing for the form when subsequently well beaten at Naas and that’s an obvious worry. But Trafford Lad, a cracking novice hurdler last season, will surely strip a lot fitter now and should be well suited to stepping up another four furlongs in trip.

Siegemaster, who revels in heavy ground and won by a distance at Thurles last time is the danger, especially in receipt of a useful 6lbs.

Tom Mullins’ Bob Lingo is a confident choice to take the Pat Neville and Sons Ltd Hurdle. Davy Russell gave him a positive drive to score at Punchestown and such tactics will surely be adopted again.

The selection strolled home 27 lengths to the good over Dan Dare and that horse gave the form a real boost when going in at Fairyhouse on Wednesday.

Feature event at Punchestown tomorrow is the Grade 1 Maplewood Developments Hurdle, which promises a fascinating clash between Jered and Sizing Europe.

The latter went off market-leader for the Champion Hurdle in March, but completely lost his action from two out and was almost pulled up-lame.

At his best, he will take a lot of beating, but it is hard to be overly enthusiastic about Sizing Europe until he goes and does it again on the track.

In contrast, Jered was a revelation when giving Cork All Star 11lbs and an easy beating at Down Royal. He handled the testing conditions much better than might have been expected and gets the vote.

Tony Mullins could do with a winner and Aranleigh might provide him with just that in the GAA Fundraiser Beginners Chase. He jumped for fun at Down Royal, on his debut over fences, when third to Drumconvis and may come on a bundle for that much-needed outing.

Northern Alliance, rested since scoring at the Listowel Festival, can win the Better Prices Bigger Wins Novice Chase. He beat a decent sort that day in Footy Facts.

At Cork tomorrow, Mouse Morris’ Tinakellylad looks the answer to the first division of the Maiden Hurdle.

The former winning pointer indicated his turn would not be long delayed on the track when a creditable third behind Beau Michael at Limerick.

The Blackwater Handicap Hurdle is wide open, but a little on Notable D’Estruval may not miss the target by a whole lot. He runs here 26lbs below his current mark over fences.

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