GAVIN CROMWELL: We’ve got a very busy weekend to look forward to with plenty of runners on the Flat and over Jumps. Here are my thoughts on our contenders at Wexford, Navan and Ballinrobe over the next couple of days.
Long March is our first runner on Saturday in the handicap hurdle (3.50pm). This is his first start in handicaps and he should be much more at home on the better ground here. We’re not quite sure where a mark of 92 leaves us, but we’ll know plenty more after this run.
We then run Mary Of De Sorrows in the 3m maiden hurdle (4.25pm). She only ran last week, but given this looks a pretty weak race we’ve decided to get her back out quickly. She’s been running well for the most part recently and she should be there or thereabouts again.
Monsieur Bagot is another who wants good ground, so we’re pleased that’s the case at Wexford. He goes in the handicap chase (5.35pm) and he should hold fairly solid claims here on the back of his third two starts ago. You can put a line through his last run as the ground was far too soft. Back on a better surface on a stiff track, we’re hoping he’ll be involved.
We kick things off over at Navan with Giselles Thunder in the fillies maiden (1.50pm). The form of her second on debut over course and distance is working out very well and she didn’t run too badly at Tipperary the last day. We were perhaps slightly disappointed with that run, though, so given that as well as her debut performance, we’re hopeful of a bold showing.
Crystal Dawn takes her chance in the Div II of the five and-a-half furlong handicap (2.55pm). She won well the last day at Dundalk over six and we’re just hoping this track and trip will be stiff enough for her. She might struggle to be up with the pace early on, but she’ll be doing her best work at the finish and hopefully that will see her in the prize money.
We then run Miraculum and A Place Apart in the 1m6f handicap (4.40pm). The latter was third at Navan last week over a furlong shorter and we’re hoping this extra distance will suit. That was a good run and we’re hoping for more of the same again.
Miraculum will need the ground to dry out, but back on the Flat she could go well. When she last ran on the level she was third behind Walking On Glass and Princess Zoe, both of whom have gone on to win since, so there is plenty of substance to the form.
Next up are California Blue and Battle Of Benburb in the 1m maiden (5.40pm). California Blue makes her debut for us here and will come on heaps for it as most do. She probably isn’t quite up to winning a maiden, but this will be a nice starting point for her.
Battle Of Benburb should have a strong chance here. We think a fair amount of him and hope he could be quite smart, so we’re really looking forward to starting him out this season. He was third in a barrier trial last year as a two-year-old and we’ve always held him in very high regard. We’ve booked Colin Keane to ride and we’re hoping he goes very well, although he’ll definitely improve for whatever he does.
It’s obviously his first start under rules, but he’d probably be our best chance of a winner this weekend.
Our Sunday runners start with Saol Iontach in the maiden hurdle (2.05pm). She’s been placed a couple of times including when third at Kilbeggan last time. It’s not a massively strong race on paper and with both track and trip to suit, we’re quietly confident she’ll be in the shakeup.
We run Ainmisfearr and Yeats Mardy in the handicap hurdle (3.45pm). Ainmisfearr was a good third at Bellewstown two starts ago, but didn’t really follow that up over course and distance the last day. We’re hoping she can bounce back and run well in this sort of company.
Yeats Mardy is off to the sales in 10 days, but before that we’re hoping she can get a nice bit of form in the book. She’s been desperately disappointing for us and let’s hope she can run a bit better than that here.
Our two runners in the Mayo National (4.45pm) are Biddy The Boss and Peaches And Cream.
Peaches And Cream won his beginners the last day and is now off a mark of 128 which we think is pretty fair. It’s obviously a very competitive race given its nature, but he should run well again.
Biddy The Boss went too quick in front at Kilbeggan the last day, but she’d definitely have a squeak here on some of her better form.