Bellshill looks the most obvious winner of the afternoon, in the featured Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle, but the nap goes to Fairly Legal, in the two-mile maiden hurdle.
Robert Tyner’s horse won a point-to-point at Dromohane, back in December of 2014, and wasn’t seen again until making his racecourse debut just a couple of months ago in Cork. The Beneficial gelding ran a fine race behind the useful Okotoks, and jumped noticeably well on his way to a third-place finish.
He’s likely to have come on appreciably for that run and can take this enroute to better things.
The danger is likely to come from Hurry Henry, who finished second behind Bellshill on his return to hurdling last time.
Getting back to Bellshill, he will take a world of beating in the feature race. Winner of a Grade One bumper last season, he was un-extended when making a successful start over hurdles in November, and had little trouble following up in a Grade Two race at Navan a month later.
Moving another rung up the ladder should prove no problem to the exciting sort, and he can prove too smart for Marakoush, Anibale Fly and Stone Hard.
Uranna can get the meeting off to a flyer by taking the mares’ beginners’ chase for the Mullins-Walsh combination.
The selection was a useful sort over hurdles last term, winning twice, including at listed level at Sandown.
She couldn’t cut the mustard at the very top level at Fairyhouse, but was far from disgraced in finishing fourth behind Bitofapuzzle.
Starting off over fences this afternoon, the lightly raced eight-year-old has been found a good opportunity to make a winning debut, and is preferred to All You Need.
The latter has had two runs this season, both over hurdles. She won on the first occasion, but was unable to quicken up in the closing stages of a valuable handicap last time out. Dropping back to the minimum trip should aid her cause this time, and she can chase the selection home.
The clash of Kitten Rock and Shaneshill in the two-mile novice chase should reveal plenty, and the former, trained by Eddie O’Grady, is just preferred.
Although the race was run at a very steady pace, there was an awful lot to like about his victory at Navan in November.
The Laverock gelding jumped particularly well, and left the impression he could be even better over fences than he was over hurdles.
Given he finished sixth, beaten less than 10 lengths, behind Faugheen in last season’s Cheltenham Champion Hurdle, it’s clear he has the potential to go right to the top in this sphere.
Shaneshill will test his credentials this time. The last-named won readily on his chasing debut, at Thurles, and the form was franked by runner-up Walk To Freedom.
The drop back to two miles isn’t a major concern, and he should push the selection all the way.