The Karl Thornton-trained Wakea should land the opening Data Select Maiden Hurdle in Down Royal this evening.
A classy performer on the flat for Jeremy Noseda, the five-year-old shaped with plenty of promise on his hurdling debut in Limerick less than three weeks ago.
Thornton looks to have found a good opportunity for the Cape Cross gelding here.
Wakea won twice at Kempton and once at Wolverhampton when campaigning on the level in England. And today’s good ground should enable him open his hurdling account, at the second attempt.
On his Irish debut, Wakea went down by three-quarters of a length to Balzac Turgot in Limerick when the leading duo stretched nine lengths clear of the remainder.
That experience should stand to Wakea today and, with Johnny Barry claiming valuable 5lbs allowance, he should prove tough to beat.
Later, Jessica Harrington’s chasing debutante Duckweed might have the edge over the experienced Annomatopoeria in the Barclay Communications Mares Beginners Chase.
Successful twice over hurdles last summer, in Kilbeggan and Limerick, Duckweed was last seen when finishing fifth to Misty Lady in a Gowran Park handicap hurdle last October.
She gets the nod over Annomatopoeia, beaten 14 lengths when second to Go Darsi Go at Roscommon recently.
The three handicap hurdles on the card will pose plenty of problems for punters. But Dermot McLoughlin’s Clontarf, beaten a short-head by Bye Bye O Bye at Punchestown (for which he was raised 5lbs), should reward each-way support in the Barclay Telecom Handicap Hurdle.
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