With his stable in good form, evidenced by recent maiden hurdle wins and Star Girl Aalmal’s excellent fourth in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, Itwasfate should prove a tough nut to crack in the RED MILLS EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle in Limerick.
A lightly-raced Passing Glance gelding, Itwasfate has a golden opportunity to keep the ball rolling for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore in the feature event.
Sixth on his only bumper start, the five-year-old has been placed in each of his three hurdle starts, kicking off with a third behind Mythical Hero and North Of Nashville at Cork last November.
He then bumped into the Willie Mullins-trained Henn See, beaten a half-length, at the Christmas meeting at today’s venue.
Last time out, he was beaten 12 lengths when fourth to Gracchus De Balme in a Clonmel maiden hurdle, form which has been boosted by both the winner, a highly creditable third, off 125, in a competitive Fairyhouse handicap at Easter, and runner-up Plains Indian, a 121-rated subsequent winner.
On that evidence, Itwasfate has rock-solid claims here and is expected to prove too strong for Peter Fahey’s hurdling debutante Rocco Bay, a horse who opened her account on a trip to Bangor less than two weeks ago.
The Colin Bowe-trained North Of Nashville, if back to her best, might boost Itwasfate’s claims by figuring prominently in the earlier Tote Guarantee Mares Maiden Hurdle.
But Jordan Gainford’s mount might struggle to cope with the once-raced, Willie Mullins-trained Walk On The Moone, who justified 8-15 favouritism in a Kilbeggan bumper last month.
A daughter of Walk In The Park and a half-sister to Mount Ida and Sizing Tennessee, this mare should build on her debut success.
Fans of the Mullins team who had their fingers burned on High City Roller on his debut in Clonmel back in March will probably be slow to chase their losses on the Arcadio gelding in Thursday's finale.
Sent off at 6-5 in Clonmel, he flopped badly and was virtually pulled up behind stable second string Klarc Kent.
Clearly, High City Roller was showing plenty at home ahead of his debut and, on a more suitable track, might bounce back here.
Newcomers Dunleer Phoenix (trained by Gordon Elliott) and the JP McManus-owned We Had It All Said (Eric McNamara) might prove the main threat to the Mullins gelding.
5.25 Walk On The Moone (NB)
6.00 No Way Pedro
7.10 Itwasfate (Nap)
8.20 High City Roller
4.50 Classic Concorde
5.25 North Of Nashville
6.00 Dylan Lombardy
6.35 Dazzling Dove
7.10 Rocco Bay
7.45 The Abbey
8.20 We Had It All Said