Stuart Crawford targets Imperial Call Chase at Cork

Stuart Crawford fears Sunday's Imperial Call Chase at Cork could be the last suitable target for mudlark Fine Rightly this season.

Stuart Crawford targets Imperial Call Chase at Cork

Stuart Crawford fears Sunday's Imperial Call Chase at Cork could be the last suitable target for mudlark Fine Rightly this season.

The Alflora gelding turns out again quickly after a facile win at Down Royal on St Patrick's Day, but the Larne handler feels his recent run will leave him spot on for Sunday's Grade Three over three miles.

A recent step up in trip had brought further improvement from the eight-year-old, who ran a fine race to finish third in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in January.

"He's in great form. He's a horse that's ground dependent and that prompted me to go for this. It may be his last chance to get suitable ground this season," said Crawford.

"Whatever he does right handed, he's better going left, but to be fair he's only ran right-handed once at Down Royal and that went all right so it gives us a bit of encouragement that it's not a big issue.

"He jumped a little bit left early on at Down Royal but he hadn't run since the Irish Gold Cup and was very keen. That run left him right for this and we knew this race was coming up.

"The other option we had was Navan next week but, in all probability, that's going to be better ground.

"Aintree is probably going to be too dry for him. At Ayr we had a two-and-a-half mile race or the Scottish National, which I didn't really want to go for, and then there is Punchestown. There might not be much more for him this season."

Fine Rightly is top-rated on a mark of 149 and his nearest rival is Toon River, who has 5lb to find at the weights.

Trainer Mary Louise Hallahan was delighted to see her charge bounce back to winning ways at Gowran last time and is hoping he can produce a similar effort.

"It looks a nice, competitive little race. Fine Rightly is a very good horse but if Toon River is in the same form as he was in Gowran, he should run a very good race," said Hallahan.

"Fine Rightly is probably a classier horse than us, but if Toon River turns up at his best he could give him a run.

"The softer the better for him and there is rain forecast over the weekend."

Hallahan also runs Malt Gem in the E32,500 contest and is hopeful of a better performance after some disappointing efforts recently.

She said: "Malt Gem has been disappointing. He was very, very good at the start of the year but recently, for one reason or another ,he just hasn't fired and his past few runs have been disappointing.

"He seems in good order and he won his maiden hurdle over three miles at the course so I don't think the distance is a problem.

"If he's back to himself, hopefully he can run well. He wouldn't want it too heavy ,so I'm hoping for something in between for the two horses."

The progressive Pairofbrowneyes gets 7lb from the top pair but still has something to find stepping up in grade.

Barry Murphy's charge has been an impressive winner on his last two outings, including over two miles and a furlong at the track back in November.

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