Eddie O’Grady’s horse displayed promise in four runs in 2014, but clearly showed he had benefitted from a lay-off when returning to land a bumper in Clonmel in May. He came up against a very smart sort, Tesseract, next time, but was far from disgraced in failing to concede 8lbs to the four-year-old.
Back over hurdles this afternoon, it’s reasonably safe to suggest he can translate his improved form to this discipline, in which case he is the one to beat.
The biggest danger may come from Trainstation, who was a shade unlucky not to get off the mark last time, at Ballinrobe. A mistake at the last cost him dearly, and he should run yet another solid race.
The very exciting Al Qahwa can take the first race at Naas, for trainer Mick Halford. Heavily backed on debut, when he finished third behind Aca Awesome, he made amends with a really fetching display at Leopardstown last month.
The form of the latter race is somewhat questionable at this stage, but he was in a league of his own, and it’s also quite likely his class allowed him cope with the cut in the ground more than he appreciated it. He looks a terrific prospect and, with quicker conditions expected, is taken to follow up.
The danger may come from Mimicking, who beat colts when winning at the Curragh on her debut. Heavy ground may well have been against her next time, when runner-up, at 4-5, to State Of Emergency. She holds one of today’s rivals, Blood Moon, on that form.
In the opening maiden hurdle in Cork, Lenora can get off the mark for the in-form stable of Edmond Kent. The seven-year-old mare was having her first run since October when catching the eye finishing fourth behind stable companion Kris Kindle, at the recent Killarney festival.
She took quite a hold then, pulled her way to the front down the back, and it was only in the closing stages she faded to finish fourth.
The lack of a run may have told late on, but the drop in trip here should help her settle, and she can score in the hands of Paul Townend, who has finished first past the post in all four rides for the stable this season.
Loyalty Card and Davids Jewel finished fifth and sixth respectively in the Killarney race and both must be respected. Should the conditions remain on the quick side today it will aid the latter’s cause, and she is feared most, though the drop in trip is a venture into unknown territory.
Willie and Patrick Mullins can take the bumper with Grangeclare Rosa. She reverts to this discipline following two placed efforts over timber and, with stamina assured, can make all.