The four-year-old was quite busy in two campaigns in France, but had a long break before making his debut for his current stable in a Kilbeggan Maiden Hurdle, in which he ran well to finish third behind Rock On Fruity.
He then tried his luck on the flat, at Bellewstown, and finished just three lengths behind Sherlock Holmes, before returning to hurdling to win a maiden at Ballinrobe. He wasn’t disgraced on his most recent outing, in the valuable Lartigue Hurdle at Listowel, when third behind Golden Spear and Tigris River. He looks very well handicapped over jumps and should have little trouble adding to his tally in this sphere, but also has the potential to exploit his current mark on the level.
Although most of his winning has been on heavy ground, he promises to be better on quicker conditions, and can prove so today. From a good draw, he can sit prominently, and score at the expense of Spacious Sky.
In the Join The Gowran Park Racing Club Today race over nine and a half furlongs Loch Garman can start making up for lost time by landing the spoils for the very much in-form stable of Jim Bolger. Runner-up in the Derrinstown Derby Trial of 2013, before finishing down the field in the French Derby, he returned from almost two years on the side-line to finish runner-up behind stable-companion Parish Hall back in April. He has been off the track since, but looks plenty classy enough to deal with today’s opposition. Mohaayed is favoured most by the race conditions, but was disappointing when last tried over course and distance. He has potential for improvement but, despite some tremendous efforts, most notably when a close sixth in the Irish 2000 Guineas, he has a little to prove.
The most valuable race on the card is the opening maiden for unraced juveniles, and the form of the Bolger stable makes Mandarin Monarch a likely type, from his favourable draw. Kellstorm, who is a full-brother and stable companion to Irish Leger winner Order Of St George, is likely to be sent off favourite, but has the wide draw to overcome. The market should tell a tale.
O’Brien also has strong claims in the Gowran Park Racing Club Nursery with Jaqen H’ghar. The colt was runner-up in a similar contest at Dundalk less than a fortnight ago, and can improve further. Donnacha O’Brien is in the saddle once more, and they can go one place better.