He swerved Cheltenham last month and that was a wise decision, on the basis his form just wasn’t good enough.
But Edward O’Grady’s seven-year-old remains a promising talent and this looks well within his compass. Impressive when taking his maiden at Leopardstown at Christmas, the selection returned to that track in the middle of February to contest the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle. He produced a solid display to fill third spot behind Oscars Well and Zaidpour and this represents a much easier assignment.
Gordon Elliott’s Eight Is My Number gets the vote in the Inistioge Maiden Hurdle. Successful in a bumper at the first time of asking at Navan in November, he came back to that track for his debut over flights later in the month.
Eight Is My Number ran a really nice race to take third behind Gagewell Flyer and Buck Barrow and shouldn’t be far away now, especially if the market speaks in his favour.
At Limerick tomorrow Gift Of Dgab gets the nap in the Ladies’ Go Free Hurdle. He does lack the experience of some of his opponents, but there was a lot to like about the way he dug deep to beat subsequent winner, Popcorn, at Navan.
Philip Fenton’s Last Instalment can take the Happy Mother’s Day Novice Hurdle. He is an exciting horse, who appears to have a big future. Last Instalment made a belated seasonal debut at Navan last month and was a little uneasy in the market. His performance on the track, however, was decisive and he was most impressive in strolling to a comfortable victory.
The Kevin McManus Bumper offers a fascinating clash between Dermot Weld’s Waaheb and Edward O’Grady’s Cash And Go.
Waaheb is unbeaten in two races at Leopardstown, while Cash And Go scored by seven lengths at Thurles. Waaheb gets the nod.
At the Curragh tomorrow St Nicholas Abbey will be the focus of much attention in the Alleged Stakes. He hasn’t been seen since disappointing behind Makfi in the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
The fact Ballydoyle has persevered with the four-year-old is significant and this is a gentle reintroduction.
The Gladness Stakes is best left to Dandy Nicholls’ Regal Parade, having a first outing since finishing a creditable fourth behind the brilliant Goldikova in a Group 1 at Longchamp in October.
Notable Graduate, beaten half a length into second by Tiz The Shot at Leopardstown, also in October, can go one better in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden.