Stick with Smoking Aces

THE tough Smoking Aces can land the Come On Ireland Novice Hurdle at Gowran Park this afternoon.

A slightly unlucky second at Leopardstown at Christmas, he made up for that with a gutsy display at Naas last month. Paddy Flood was seen at his strongest, driving his charge to beat Puyol a head, after Smoking Aces had fluffed his lines at the final flight.

In a good little race, Otay Kawn is rated the main danger. Beaten four lengths by Realt Dubh at Punchestown, he would have been a lot closer, but for getting it all wrong at the last.

The very frustrating Stewarts House gets the nod to finally put it all together in the Bagenalstown Beginners Chase.

Arthur Moore’s charge was a close fourth over flights behind Mask Of Darkness at Leopardstown on his latest appearance and, prior to that, found two miles and a furlong all too short when third to Pink Suitcase and Sizing America at Fairyhouse.

Another proving costly to follow, Uimhiraceathair, gets the vote in the Warrington Maiden Hurdle. It does require a leap of faith to go with him again, but the risk is worth taking.

He was held up for much of the journey when only fifth behind Mask Of Darkness at Leopardstown and has three places and five lengths to find with Ocean Cowboy.

It is hard to accept that as Uimhiraceathair’s true form, he did win two bumpers, and, perhaps, more use will be made of him on this occasion.

At Cork tomorrow, Serpentaria is fancied to continue the terrific run being enjoyed by Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, in the Easter Festival Hurdle.

She returned to action at Leopardstown earlier in the month, taking a handicap with a lot in hand by three lengths. Serpentaria went up a whopping 13lbs for that and can justify her lofty rating.

Jessica Harrington’s Manor Park has the best form in the Dromahane Maiden Hurdle and should be capable of dismissing no less than 23 rivals.

He has been mixing it with the best of our juveniles and was a creditable fourth at Leopardstown last time behind Jumbo Rio, Ebadiyan and Mourad.

Noel Meade’s Champus, a good money-spinner on the flat in Germany, looks best in the Fermoy Maiden Hurdle. He is likely to come into his own as the surface dries out and was far from disgraced at Leopardstown when fifth to Alexander Severus.

Ex-pointer, Presenting Massey, made an excellent start on the racecourse at Punchestown and should go close in the Bumper.

He only gave best through the final furlong to John Kiely’s well-backed newcomer, Taking Stock, and should relish the extra two furlongs now.

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