Returning after a 631-day absence, the unbeaten Malone Road will be expected to justify long odds-on favouritism on his hurdling debut in the Broderick’s Electrical Maiden Hurdle in Ballinrobe today.
We haven’t seen the Cheveley Park-owned, Gordon Elliott-trained six-year-old since November 2018, when he won bumpers at Down Royal and Punchestown.
But he looked a potential star in those bumper victories, enough to se him elevated to favouritism for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
But setbacks intervened and the Kalanisi gelding hasn’t been seen since.
Winner of a Loughanmore point-to-point before being bought for £325,000, Malone Road outclassed his rivals in Down Royal (Valdieu chased him home) and Punchestown, where he forged clear of the Willie Mullins-trained Mt.Leinster.
A horse with a big reputation, Malone Road has been found an ideal, low-key opportunity for his hurdling bow. With Keith Donoghue in the plate, he’ll be expected to outclass his rivals today and, hopefully, pull out sound tomorrow morning, before more ambitious plans are put in place for him.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Calidus Mirabilis, twice successful on the Flat, finished fourth to Longclaw in the first juvenile hurdle of the season at Roscommon last Monday and the Hot Streak gelding should put that experience to good use in the J J Burke Car Sales 3-Y-0 Maiden Hurdle, in which he should confirm Roscommon form with three of his rivals.
Noel Meade’s Perry Owens, the highest-rated of these on the Flat, and the Gordon Elliott-trained Sister Eliza, third to Talking Tough over seven furlongs in Galway, might follow J J Slevin’s mount home.
Today’s card includes four difficult-looking handicap hurdles. But, following two solid, recent second placings, ten-year-old mare Brogine should reward each-way support in the Burleigh Accountancy Handicap Hurdle over an extended three miles and a furlong.
Runner-up to Gunfire Reef in a handicap chase in Tipperary, Brogine filed the runner-up berth behind the rejuvenated The Trigger over hurdles in Galway. Now 2lb. higher and with Cathal Landers claiming a valuable 5lb., she’ll relish this test of stamina and should be involved at the business end of the race. Tiger Twenty Two and Kilkishen are among the dangers.
Winner of point-to-points at Ballycrystal and Borris House for Denis Murphy and now trained by Tom Mullins, Breakeven is an interesting recruit to hurdling in the RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle.
The Scorpion gelding should be noted in the betting and might prove too strong for jumping debutant Cabin Hill, winner of a Wexford bumper last year and third to Rocket Lad in a winners’ event at the 2019 Galway festival.
5.10.Get A Price
7.15.My Lovely Boy
7.45.Tiger Twenty Two