Last time out, Jack Slade served notice his turn was not far away, and the first division of the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle on this evening’s eight-race programme at Bellewstown could hardly offer a better opportunity for Noel Meade’s gelding.
While the Stowaway six-year-old didn’t threaten to justify favouritism in his first two bumper starts, and struggled when initially sent over hurdles, he appeared to improve just a touch for better ground last time out, at Down Royal, when he finished runner-up behind Shake The Bucket.
With reasonable conditions expected today, he can go one place better, with Jonathan Moore in the saddle.
Another horse to have been found a winnable opportunity is Duke Cass, who contest the second division of the same race.
The gelding didn’t cut much ice in four runs on the flat for previous connections, but showed definite promise in his first two starts over hurdles. While well beaten on both occasions, he caught the eye finishing runner-up to Bringerofthedawn on the second of them.
He disappointed on two subsequent occasions over hurdles, but showed a little more back on the flat at this track on Thursday night.
That should have put him spot on for this assignment and, it being a low-level handicap for which there aren’t too many which make appeal, Karl Thornton’s gelding can score under leading young rider Donagh Meyler.
Limerick hosts the national hunt fare tomorrow, and The Plan Man can land the beginners’ chase for Gordon Elliott and Bryan Cooper.
The six-year-old had become inconsistent over hurdles, but showed plenty when just touched off in a similar event to today’s on his chasing debut last time, at Tramore.
That little bit of experience should stand to him here, and he can take this at the expense of decent hurdler Neverushacon, who wasn’t without his supporters on his chasing debut, at Ballinrobe.
He produced a modest round of jumping there, and will have to improve in that department if he’s to score. Nevertheless, given his ability, he has to be given plenty of respect.
Tomorrow’s flat fare takes place in Naas, and True Valour shades the verdict over Sportsmanship in the six-furlong maiden. Johnny Murtagh’s Kodiac colt ran a race full of promise on debut, when sixth behind the highly regarded Intelligence Cross.
Held up off the pace, he was hampered a number of times as he tried to make progress inside the final furlong, and yet was beaten only four lengths.
That was a very pleasing first effort, and he is just preferred to Sportmanship, who was sixth in a maiden in which the aforementioned Intelligence Cross finished runner-up to the selection’s stable-companion, Grand Coalition.
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