The Grade 3 Markaye Contracts Ltd Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle, worth more than €16,000 to the winner, is the feature at Thurles and it looks a very good renewal. Grand Paradis can add to his recent maiden hurdle success by landing the spoils for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy.
The grey ran away with a Fairyhouse bumper on debut but was a touch disappointing when sent off favourite on his hurdling debut.
Last time out, however, he impressed for many reasons. Firstly, he appeared not to be suited by the modest pace of the race, suggesting he would move more comfortably in better company, and, secondly, he quickened twice when asked to. He did so after jumping the second-last, and again after the last.
He gave the impression the step up to two and a half miles would really suit, backed up by the fact his three winning half-brothers all won over further than two miles, and his granddam is a half-sister to Welsh National winner Raz De Maree. There is plenty more to come from him, and he can make this step up at the expense of Fighter Allen and Limestone Rock.
Fighter Allen has ability but hasn’t yet convinced with his finishing effort. That said, he may not have been quite ready for the step up to three miles which he ran over last time, and this drop back to two miles and five could suit.
Ain’t That A Shame can make the most of the weight he receives from Churchtownwarrior in the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle. Fifth behind Clondaw Warrior in a decent maiden hurdle on his first start on the track, he followed up by finishing third behind Fun Light.
Not helped by making a bad mistake at the second-last on the latter occasion, he stayed on nicely and should have no trouble with the step up to almost three miles. He has plenty of scope for improvement, and can do enough to see off Churchstonewarrior, who has hurdling experience but may find the burden of his 8lb penalty too much against a promising rival.
2:20 It Came To Pass
3:20 Jack Dillinger
3:50 Grand Paradis (nap)
4:25 Ain’t That A Shame (nb)
4:55 Fighting Fit
5:25 Mollys Glory
2:20 Stand Up And Fight
2:50 Cushinstown Finest
3:20 Espion Du Chenet
3:50 Fighter Allen