Today's tips: Emma Beag will be hard to thwart at Downpatrick

Emma Beag can get her reward for two runner-up finishes by landing the spoils in the Joe Rea Memorial Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick.

Liz Doyle’s mare made her seasonal debut in May at Clonmel and was noted finishing to good effect to run Sarah Joyce to three parts of a length.

A step up in trip looked an obvious move, and she duly took that at Wexford where she again took second position, this time behind the well-backed Red Giant, over three miles.

The winner did plenty for the form when coping with a step up to novice company at Kilbeggan and, as this represents a much easier assignment, Emma Beag should take plenty of beating.

The frustrating Blessed King looks the most obvious danger, but is struggling to get his head in front, and that may continue here.

He didn’t lose a lot in defeat behind Ash Rowe last time, but has had plenty of chances, and may need a little luck.

Connections of the latter may have better luck in the Win A Meerkat Toy Hurdle with the progressive Carrig Cathal. Winner of a point-to-point, he was placed in two bumpers before making a successful hurdling debut at Ballinrobe in May.

Not unduly pressured, he coasted home 12 lengths clear of Bright Tomorrow, who gave the form a little boost when justifying heavy support in a maiden at Wexford on his next start.

The slightly shorter trip should be no trouble to Carrig Cathal and, with Master Of Verse likely to set a decent tempo, the selection can be delivered late to make it two from two over timber.

Oathkeeper may be the most exciting prospect on the Killarney card, but he is going to be a very short price to make a winning start over hurdles in the Ladbrokes Ireland Maiden Hurdle.

Although he must concede a minimum of 8lbs to all of his rivals, he looked really smart in bumpers, most recently when trouncing Bel Sas in a decent race at Listowel.

The runner-up may have improved for the introduction of obstacles when running away with a Bellewstown Maiden Hurdle on his next start, but there was no mistaking Oathkeeper’s superiority, and he, too, can improve in this sphere.

With a competent round of jumping, the exciting son of Oscar should come home clear, with point-to-point winner Rockey Storm the one to follow him in.

Massini’s Trap can take the Paddy Power App Handicap Hurdle for James Nash and Donagh Meyler.

Although he hasn’t won over hurdles in almost three years, he has been running well without much luck this year, including when runner-up to Sempre Medici in a Grade Three at Naas in January.

More recently, he ran another nice race when third behind Gusty Rocky over three miles at Gowran last time and, back to a mark of 126 and with Meyler taking off 5lbs, a big run can be expected.


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