Spacious Sky looks on a winning mark

Spacious Sky should make Ruby Walsh’s trip to Down Royal worthwhile by landing the Bet With The Tote Handicap Hurdle today.

The Tony Martin-trained six-year-old has only one win on his CV. But, just 3lb. higher than when scoring at Navan in November 2013, he should be capable of adding to that total on the yielding to soft ground at the northern venue.

A beaten favourite last time out, when fifth to Westerners Son at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, Spacious Sky boasts some rock-solid flat form, including a third to Edge Of Sanity at York last August.

On home soil, he filled fourth spot behind smart hurdler Bayan at Leopardstown, finished fourth to better-fancied stable-companion Quick Jack in the valuable amateur handicap at the Galway Festival and, in his last outing on the level, was a close second to Clondaw Warrior in the ultra-competitive Leopardstown November Handicap.

With a flat rating of 86, Spacious Sky should be more than capable of hurdle success off his current hurdle mark of 98. And, with ground conditions close to his liking, Ruby Walsh’s only mount of the day should oblige, at the probable expense of Stuart Crawford’s versatile performer Glenquest, last seen when finishing third to Emperors Choice in the Welsh Grand National.

An expensive failure at Fairyhouse last time, when third to Fine Srticle, Altiepix is on a recovery mission for Gigginstown and Gordon Elliott in the Sean Graham Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle. But he might struggle to cope with the Jessica Harrington-trained Moscow Magic, winner of a bumper in Naas in November and eighth behind Windsor Park on his hurdling debut in a Leopardstown maiden last time out.

Sandra Hughes might win the Beginners Chase with Barry Connell’s Blue Bicycle, fourth to Dromnea on his chasing bow at Limerick over Christmas, but boasting solid hurdle form against the likes of Daneking and Outlander. He looks a more reliable proposition than Rocky Wednesday.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox