Zafayan can redress balance for Dermot Weld and Davy Russell

The Dermot Weld-Davy Russell combination hasn’t exactly set the winter alight, but can begin to redress the balance by landing the Online Discounts Maiden Hurdle at the Co Meath track this afternoon with Zafayan.

Zafayan can redress balance for Dermot Weld and Davy Russell

The selection, a useful enough performer on the flat, has taken well to jumping and is certainly on an upward curve.

He ran with promise first time when third at Punchestown in late December and went forward from that at Thurles 16 days ago.

On this occasion, Zafayan was beaten two and three parts of a length into second behind shock 66-1 winner, Knockraha Pylon, and this looks a good opportunity.

The big worry is the former successful point-to-pointer, Minella Berry, who more than caught the eye when third to Rock The World and Velvet Maker at Down Royal in early November.

Gordon Elliott’s Whistle Dixie, another who has done the business between the flags, gets the vote in the 85 Euro Arkle Package On Easter Monday Mares’ Bumper.

She made an excellent start on the racecourse when ploughing through the mud at Limerick at Christmas to win with lots in reserve.

Feature event is the Grade 3 Solerina Mares’ Novice Hurdle and this centres very much on Morning Run’s ability to handle the ground.

Her record is five wins in as many runs and she was particularly impressive on her latest appearance when taking another Grade 3 in a canter by seven and a half lengths from Carrigmoorna Rock at Down Royal in late October.

But all the evidence is that she wants good ground and testing conditions now, and an extra two furlongs, give Carrigmoorna Rock a real life.

She has made huge progress since Down Royal, winning at Newbury and then exploding clear in the straight to score at Leopardstown subsequently.

Shark Hanlon’s Hidden Cyclone, admittedly a hard horse to catch right, can deliver in the Grade 2 BoyleSports Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown tomorrow.

He ran a cracker at Leopardstown last time, beaten four and three quarter lengths into second by Twinlight, and can reverse the placings on 8lbs better terms.

The Bumper is best left to Gordon Elliott’s General Principle, winner of his only point-to-point.

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