Softer surface should suit Gentle Noel

GENTLE NOEL has plenty going for her in the Athlone Maiden Hurdle at Kilbeggan tonight and gets the nap.

She was a little disappointing when failing to justify favouritism on this track last month, finishing two and a half lengths second behind Moi Desire.

The surface was very quick on that occasion, however, and being a daughter of Turtle Island should relish the likely ease now.

Prior to her latest appearance, Gentle Noel had performed better when runner-up behind Lend A Hand Son at Listowel.

Bryan Cooper, who rode on that occasion, partners the mare again and Dessie Hughes’ five-year-old is well capable of taking a bad race such as this.

Noel Meade’s Lean Times is the one to be on in the Bumper. He returned to action at Punchestown in late May, looking an improved performer.

The selection was beaten four lengths and half a length when third to Fantasy King and Viking Visitor.

The contest has been working out well. Fantasy King and Viking Visitor have won in the meantime, as has fourth placed, Greenbelt Star.

Feature event is the Gigginstown House Midlands National Handicap Chase. It’s wide open, with the nod falling on Decoy Daddy. Tony Mullins’ charge is smart enough, when on song, and warmed up for this with a spin over flights at Roscommon, third to Maagnum Force and Grey Soldier.


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