Earls Quarter should prove too strong

Earls Quarter and Patrick Mullins should prove tough to beat in the Owenavarragh (Amateur) Race at Wexford today.

The lightly-raced Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old has won three of his five completed starts, landing a Roscommon bumper almost two years ago in addition to two hurdles successes last year.

Winner of his maiden at Sligo in August, the Shantou gelding went on to land a ‘novice’ at Galway later that month, beating the very smart Rebel Fitz.

Off the track until Fairyhouse at Easter, Earls Quarter acquitted himself well in a Grade 2 novice hurdle, but looked beaten when falling at the final flight behind Jenari.

The selection is Willie Mullins’ chosen runner from a strong entry for this two-mile event. And he should prove too strong for John Kiely’s dual bumper-winner Blossom Gate, off the track since last September and the mount of 7lb. claimer Andrew Latta.

Although beaten a long way by Duntle on her debut in a Dundalk maiden, Miss Forde had that form boosted when the third, Zariyna, scored at Gowran on Thursday. And Jim Bolger’s daughter of Clodovil might be good enough to open her account in the opening fillies’ maiden.

The listed Vintage Crop Stakes is the feature of tomorrow’s action in Navan and will feature the return to action of Aidan O’Brien’s Fame And Glory, winner of five Group 1 races and off the track since scoring at Ascot last October.

Last year’s Ascot Gold Cup winner has been a beaten odds-on favourite three times. But, with Joseph O’Brien in the saddle for the first time, he’ll be expected to make a successful seasonal debut, at the probable expense of Unaccompanied.

The O’Briens should also click with Offer, a close second to Hartani on his recent debut at Tipperary, in the navanracecourse.ie Maiden.

And, in Limerick tomorrow, Peter Fahey’s Shop Dj, outclassed in the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last time, sets a decent standard in the feature event, the Irish Stallion Farms Mares’ Chase.

Her defeat of Our Victoria in Thurles, second to Knockfierna in Mallow and her creditable fifth to Quevega in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham point to her star quality.


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