Ruby primed for another big run in mares’ handicap

Definite Ruby can complete back-to-back success in the Hanlon Concrete EBF Glencarrig Lady Mares’ Handicap Chase on the penultimate day of the Punchestown festival. 
Ruby primed for another big run in mares’ handicap

In 2016, the Gordon Elliott-trained mare came here off the back of a slightly disappointing effort in the Ulster National, and returns following another run in that race.

This year, however, she looked better than ever when going clear in the straight in the Downpatrick, only for the fuel tank to run empty very quickly.

It’s quite clear now that she does not stay three and a half miles, and this drop back to two miles five, while probably a minimum, is certainly much better for her.

She likes quick ground, which she should get today and, being better than ever, should take beating off a mark just 4lbs higher than 12 months ago.

The danger may come from Slowmotion, who won a Grade 3 Chase at Fairyhouse on her most recent start and is progressive.

The feature on ladies’ day is the Grade 1 Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle, and Vroum Vroum Mag looks value to complete back-to-back victories.

She was drafted in from the subs’ bench to win the race in 2016, but looks clear number one for the Mullins team this time.

She ran a super race in defeat in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and should appreciate the drop back to two miles.

There is more depth to this year’s renewal than there was in 2016, but she looks to be as good now as she was then, suggesting odds of 11-2 are very fair.

The handicapper certainly hasn’t missed Woodland Opera, giving him a mark of 142 for his victory over O Ceallaigh in a beginners’ chase on his most recent start, but it may not be enough to prevent him following up in the EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase.

That victory was on testing ground over two miles, both of which would have been against him.

It was an ordinary affair, but there was a lot to like about the manner of the success, and it was a distinct step up from his previous efforts over fences.

Two and a half miles on better ground should be ideal, and the seven-year-old can prove himself a progressive sort by taking this race at the expense of Last Goodbye.

The latter ran a fine race behind Tully East in the Close Brothers Novice Chase, and his mark, 137, looks reasonable. A big run can be expected.

The Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle looks a competitive affair, but the form of the Colin Tizzard stable is such it may pay to stick with the unbeaten Finian’s Oscar.

While it is questionable what he has achieved thus far, he showed a willing attitude in the face of his stiffest task to date, at Aintree.

This is tougher still, but the imposing five-year-old can prove up to the task.

Kemboy can outrun his odds and, could even make a race of it with the selection. He looked good on his hurdling debut, at Limerick, and didn’t have the best of luck in running when runner-up to stable-companion Let’s Dance on his next start.

There was also plenty to like about his effort behind Willoughby Court, in the Neptune Hurdle, at Cheltenham, and another small step forward, which can be expected, would put him in the mix.

On The Fringe has a little to prove following a disappointing season, but can take the Champion Hunter Chase for a remarkable sixth time. The Enda Bolger-trained 12-year-old made a pleasing comeback behind Foxrock, at Leopardstown, but was disappointing in the Foxhunters’ Chase at Cheltenham and at Aintree.

The latter performance is best forgotten, as he made two serious mistakes early on, and was never asked to get competitive thereafter.

He should be suffering no ill effects from that trip and, back over regulation fences, can confirm form with Balnaslow, who finished a place behind him at Cheltenham, but a long way in front of him when runner-up at Aintree recently.

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