It’s a big week for Irish jumping with the Thyestes taking place at Gowran on Thursday and then the two day bonanza at Leopardstown, weather permitting. Before then however there’s the small matter of a competitive card at Limerick to focus on. Here, our inform man, Martin Pennington marks your card….
Robert Tyner has a good strike rate here at Limerick and he can take the opening Mares Maiden Hurdle with course bumper winner Girl In Blue.. She’s an experienced mare having made three starts between the flags and she was getting off the mark at the third attempt when beating Young Ambition by half a length over 2 miles in a 16 runner bumper here over Christmas. She looked likely to run the now useful looking mare Ballinahow Star close in a point at Dromahane in March but she made no mistake on her return in that sphere at Loughrea in October and being proven over the course and on the ground should help her here.
Peter Fahey’s Golden Plan ran out a ready winner of his rules debut in a bumper at Tramore on New Years Eve. Prior to that he’d comfortably taken a Maiden point at Tattersalls Farm on his return from in excess of an 18 month lay-off on ground similar to today’s under his pilot here Brendan Fahey. The son of Goldmark should have no problem with the extra 3 furlongs today and the ground conditions should be perfect for him.
The booking of Ruby Walsh is an eyecatching one for the Conor O’Dwyer trained handicap debutant Caballo De Marcus. He’s been ridden by Ben Dalton in all three starts over hurdles thus far with easily his best effort coming last time out when beaten a head over today’s course and distance in November by the Tony Martin trained Living Next Door, the pair pulling 26 lengths clear of the third Adroon Bridge and the son of Black Sam Bellamy is taken to open his account here.
The JP McManus owned Western Man has not been seen out over hurdle since finishing fourth here back in November behind Happy New Year. Derek O’Connor was in the plate on that occasion and though he’s had little success over fences in two starts in Beginners Chases since at Wexford and then back here over Christmas his hurdles form under these conditions (middle distances and on heavy ground) is highly promising having finished runner-up at Tipperary in October off 3lbs lower prior to that run here off today’s mark of 88 is encouraging. He has the services of the useful Mark Walsh for the first time here and Ronald O’Leary’s son of Westerner is expected to go close in this.
Gerdalia was last seen out in a Mares Beginners Chase over 2m 4f here on heavy ground over Christmas. She was 21 lengths behind the useful Oscars Business on that occasion and has garnered plenty of experience over fences and having chased home the likes of Knockfierna and Carrigeen Lechuga on softer surfaces last season she had proven disappointing on sounder surfaces over fences at Kilbeggan and Listowel in the Spring. Last month’s run marked a step in the right direction and she can looks capable of getting off the mark at the ninth time of asking here.
Zekarya will be looking to build on his chasing debut at Tramore last month when runner-up to Unoccupied over 2m 5f, he’d previously chased home Home Farm when an 18 ½ lengths third at Thurles on his final hurdles start back in November. Pat Doyle’s charge clearly relishes cut in the ground and today’s conditions should suit him down to the ground whilst the drop back in trip to 2m 3f should not prove any inconvenience to Jack Doyle’s mount as the selection appears very versatile in terms of trip since he’s placed over the minimum trip at Tipperary in October whilst he broke his Maiden between the flags at Belclare back in February.
County Champions makes her racecourse debut in this Mares only bumper that concludes the card. She was victorious on her fourth and final outing in a point at Dromahane at the end of last month by a comfortable length a half. Prior to that she’d chased home the highly regarded duo of Foxrock and Minellahalfcentury at Loughrea with subsequent bumper winner Pumbaa back in fourth. Colm McSweeney takes the ride here as he did on this daughter of Milan’s first three starts between the flags and should go well here.