Andy Holding has three selections, including two in Ireland this evening.
PRESELI ROCK (NAP) (best price Evens) finally got his rewards for a string of gallant efforts in defeat on his first start for Oliver Sherwood at Uttoxeter last time out and this looks to be a decent opportunity for him to supplement those gains before he embarks on his career over fences. Having proven himself to be not short of stamina during the depths of winter, rain-softened ground clearly played into his strengths when trouncing his field by 37 lengths at the Midland venue and with conditions likely to deteriorate significantly in the build up to today’s contest, the son of Flemensfirth will clearly be in his element where most of his opponents won’t.
COLLA PIER (best price 5-1) has improved dramatically since last running on the Flat back in May 2015 and can exploit what appears to be an attractive mark on her return to the level. A dual winner over hurdles during the winter, one of those victories came over tonight’s track when she made short work of a competitive field to win in the style of a very useful mare. Unsurprisingly, connections felt the daughter of Hawk Wing was worth a punt in Graded company and although she couldn’t quite cope with the very smart summer jumper Listen Dear, she did manage to gain that all-important black-type tag by finishing a creditable second. A further success at Punchestown was supplemented with another solid performance in a listed race at Newbury and although her form rather tapered off in two outings subsequently, it’s fair to say she was probably feeling the effects of quite a few hard races. Sure to have been freshened up and invigorated by a change in stables, hopefully she can show up prominently on her first start for David Dunne as it would come as something of a disappointment if she fails to do so off a mark of just 59 (122 over hurdles).
Having run really well in a hot handicap at the Curragh on his first start as a three-year-old, it was slightly disappointing that DODGYBINGO (best price 14-1) failed to build on that excellent effort when returning to the same C&D two weeks later. In mitigation, Noel Meade’s inmate may have found the combination of the race coming a bit too soon and fast ground counting against him that day, so he’s probably better judged on that initial performance when he posted a big speed figure behind the potentially useful Maneen. Back on an easy surface off a 2lb lower mark, the son of Roderic O’Connor has a big chance of bouncing back to form in this much weaker affair.