Nap of the day – Stynes (3.20)
2.20 –Easy Does It Maiden Hurdle - Akorakor – Win
Akorakor looks difficult to oppose and stands out in this company. He possibly ran better at Leopardstown than his finishing position suggests and the drop back in trip should suit. Definite Trouble returns from a lengthy absence but it would come as no surprise if he got involved and looks a bigger danger than the Sedgefield winner Perseid.
2.50 –Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle - Dark Sunshine – Win
While it is a slight concern that she is running over hurdles for the first time here, Dark Sunshine shaped up fairly well on her debut in a Punchestown bumper on New Year’s Eve and might improve to win. This does not look the strongest of races and she might just be up to beating Emcon who won a bumper in November and has since run well over hurdles at Navan.
3.20 - Irish jockeys Association Novice Handicap Hurdle – Stynes – Win
Stynes was impressive enough when scoring in a maiden hurdle at Clonmel in early October and may be well enough treated on his handicap debut to win. Clearly both Indian Rupee and Jumptoconclusions are huge dangers. The former has put in two good efforts since winning at Punchestown late last year and similarly the latter has two good runs to his name since narrowly landing a similar race to this at Cork in early December.
3.50 - ITBA (Northern Region) Handicap Hurdle – Sister Annie – Each/Way
Sister Annie might just be best in a wide open race. A couple of jumping errors didn’t help her cause when third at Thurles in early January but that effort suggested that she might be improving and should run well again. Kilcross Boy is tried in cheek pieces for the first time and drops in trip after running fourth at Thurles last time but he was a winner over three miles at Limerick in December. Canova has shown little but is not easily discounted.
4.20 –Martinstown Handicap Hurdle - Ardmillan – Win
Ardmillan is the one to beat as he clearly boasts the best recent form. He drops notably in trip after running third over three miles at Down Royal last time and had previously won at the same course and Fairyhouse. Araglen Lad was disputing the lead when crashing out four from home at Down Royal last time and could well get involved if putting in a clear round.
4.50 –Arkle Years Hunters Chase - Court Frontier – Win
Court Frontier came from an impossible position to finish second at Clonmel last time and is the one to beat on this occasion. A gambled-on favourite that day, he lost ground at the start and was always on the back foot after that. However, he stayed on too good effect in the straight and only just failed to land the spoils. James looks the biggest threat on overall form although he was beaten some way when third in a better race than this at Down Royal on St. Stephen’s Day.
5.20 –Posh Nosh INH Flat Race – Alberta – Win
Alberta was a 25/1 chance when running second behind subsequent Musselburgh winner Catching Shadows at Cork in December and has his first run for Gordon Elliott here. The form of that race obviously reads well and with normal improvement, it is going to take a good one to beat him now. Newcomer Hot On Her Heels looks the only threat. A well-bred five-year-old, she is unlikely to be short of supporters but would need to be pretty smart to score at the first attempt.
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