Back to Tipperary this afternoon for a full National Hunt card and The Model Kingdom can land the odds in the opener, the Follow Tipperary Races On Facebook Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Unbeaten in three runs in bumpers, graduating from a debut success at Galway to a listed race in Navan and then a Grade 3 in Punchestown, she took her chance on the level last time out and was better than the bare form when a five-length second behind Startedwithakiss. Slowly away on that occasion, she made up plenty of ground to take second spot and that effort is worth upgrading.
Returning today after an absence of almost five months, she makes her hurdling debut, and this looks like a great opportunity to get back to winning ways. She deserves to be a short price, and anything less than a convincing win will be a disappointment. C’est Rien has shown promise and can follow her home.
Whilst taking on a Willie Mullins-trained horse in a maiden hurdle is seldom the best route to riches, his Hercule Du Seuil has something to prove in the Join The Tipperary Supporters’ Club Maiden Hurdle and thus From The Ashes gets the nap.
The latter, trained by Charles Byrnes, showed promise in bumpers and on his recent return to hurdling, at the Listowel festival, he ran on well in the closing stages to finish fourth behind No Risk No Fun behind which he had finished runner-up in a Wexford bumper.
He looks as though he will need further in time but there is little depth to today’s race, and he is the most obvious candidate with which to oppose Hercule Du Seuil. The market is likely to reveal the confidence behind the latter.
Runner-up on his only start in France, he made his Irish debut at the Christmas meeting in Leopardstown and finished a long way back in the maiden hurdle won by Watch House Cross.
It is likely he is much better than that, but he hasn’t run since then and wears a tongue-tie on his return. Perhaps he will be up to today’s task, but there are enough reasons to take him on, and From The Ashes stands out as the best alternative.