The nap goes to Carlitos Bay, who contests the bumper at the Westmeath track. Sandra Hughes’ horse has had three runs in similar contests, interrupted by a spin over hurdles, and has improved with each effort since.
On his penultimate start he finished a fine fourth behind subsequent Cheltenham Champion Bumper third and Aintree Bumper winner Bacardys. That effort came on testing ground, and he seemed to step up slightly when filling the same place behind Miracle In Medinah on better ground at Fairyhouse on his most recent start. With today’s quicker conditions likely to prompt further improvement and the step up to more than two-miles-three furlongs looking precisely what he needs, his claims are compelling.
He settles well in his races, can be ridden prominently, and can use this opportunity to get off the mark.
Kolumbus is likely to go off favourite for the Willie Mullins yard, but Taras Call may prove a bigger danger to the selection.
Little Stevie can gain compensation for his last-flight fall at Cork by taking the two-mile maiden hurdle.
From the in-form stable of Enda Bolger, the four-year-old had that juvenile hurdle at his mercy until taking that unfortunate tumble.
That effort was a considerable step up from his debut and, despite having to take on some older rivals this time, he should prove up to this task.
Sweet Cherry, whose fine third behind Bellow Mome in a Punchestown maiden received a boost when the winner followed up in a handicap, looks the best alternative.
At Dundalk, Split The Atom has an obvious chance in the claiming race. Pat Shanahan’s horse has been consistent through the winter, winning three times and finishing in the first three seven times since October.
When all factors, including ratings and jockey claim, are factored in to the equasion, he has upwards of 15lbs in hand of his rivals, and that allows some latitude in his performance and he can still come out on top.
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