Off The Mark poised to get off the mark

Although off the track for more than a year, Off The Mark should not be opposed in the Tullamore Maiden Hurdle in Kilbeggan tonight.

Well-backed when making a successful debut in a Leopardstown bumper in March of last year, he went on to finish second, beaten a length by Aminabad, in a listed four-year-old bumper in Limerick last that month.

A High Chaparral gelding, trained for J P McManus by Christy Roche, Off The Mark has presumably had a few hold-ups in the intervening months.

But he looked an exciting prospect last year and his trainer could hardly have found a better opportunity for him to start over hurdles. Jody McGarvey’s mount should prove in a different league to these rivals.

The Seamus Fahey-trained Gold Tantrum, up 7lb. for a smooth recent success over course and distance, might be capable of completing a hat-trick in the Like Kilbeggan On Facebook Handicap Hurdle. Although beaten by Kennady on her debut in a four-horse race at Clonmel, the Willie Mullins-trained Pearl Diamond might be good enough to take the bumper.

Meanwhile, Ardhooney, representing Ger Lyons and Colin Keane, looks the best bet on tonight’s Dundalk card.

Fifth to Tombelaine on his only juvenile start, this fellow went close on his seasonal debut in a recent seven-furlong Gowran maiden, separating 93-rated four-year-old Aerialist and favourite Tadaany after a prolonged three-way tussle. A son of Dark Angel, he’s entitled to improve from that comeback run and is preferred here to Eddie Lynam’s 84-rated Ortiga and Laharde.

Liffey View, beaten a neck by Sacrificial in Killarney on Tuesday, might earn quick compensation for trainer Ado McGuinness in the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap.

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