13.00 Sligo

SHAMBARA (best price 4-1) has done more than enough in two starts to suggest she’s capable of breaking her maiden tag sooner rather than later and providing she can trap well from her middle draw and gain a decent early position (vital at today’s track), she should give herself every chance of getting the job done at third time of asking.

Promising on her debut at Fairyhouse when she was noted making some nice late headway, Johnny Murtagh’s filly was well-backed from big odds (33-1 into 8-1)) to run better than her position in the morning markets suggested in a better race at the Curragh next time and so it proved, as she once again shaped with plenty of encouragement. Although she ultimately failed to trouble the judge, she did momentarily look threatening just over a furlong out until fading late on, but considering her effort was achieved against the track bias out from stall two, her performance deserved noting. Clearly getting the hang of the game based on those two initials efforts, the daughter of The Last Lion has enough qualities to be competitive in a race of this nature and with all of her main three market rival drawn outside of her, she’s fancied to seize the initiative. 

Shambara - 1pt e/w @ 4/1

15.45 Cartmel

THE STEWARD (best price 13-2) shaped as though he was badly in need of the run in a decent handicap at Uttoxeter last time out and now back at a track where his career record reads 2322441, another positive display around his happy hunting ground seems on the cards.

Clearly not much confidence was attached to his chance at the Midland venue 15 days ago, hence the 40-1 starting price, but he showed up prominently for a long way until his sabbatical of 240 days took its toll after jumping the last. Hopefully, any ring-rustiness he may have been carrying into that contest will have been eradicated and with today’s unique sharp course clearly playing into his strengths many times in the past, it would be somewhat of a surprise if this locally-trained character doesn’t make a bigger impact than his morning odds suggest.

The Steward - 1pt @ 13/2

17.40 Tipperary

Real Force looks to have an obvious chance based on his rating and the conditions of the race, but he faces an opponent in the shape of AZTEC PARADE (NAP) (best price 7-4) who is likely to provide him with all the trouble he can handle. 

Runner-up in his first two starts, Johnny Murtagh’s gelding looked all over the winner in the second of those performances only to just get run out of the argument close home by the rallying Edward Hopper, but as the speed figure pointed towards the race in question being very useful, he clearly run up to affair standard in defeat. Sent to Leopardstown in a bid to shed his maiden tag last time out, the son of Anjaal accomplished that feat as the market suggested he would, but despite the penalty kick nature of the task, he ended up being wildly impressive. The way he strode out and finished off his race up the hill to the line strongly indicated this is a three-year-old improving at a rapid rate of knots and with the ground anticipated top dry out considerably as the day progresses if the forecast is correct, this imposing sort will be a tough horse to pass once in full cry.

Aztec Parade - 2pts @ 7/4

18.10 Tipperary

KODIAC PRINCE (best price 4-1) was a late withdrawal at the Galway Festival last week due unsuitable underfoot conditions but hopefully he’ll be at peace with today’s slightly better ground (set to dry out during the day) and if so, his smart speed for the grade when scoring at Gowran last time out is likely to make him ultra-competitive if repeating the same level of form. 

Allowed to go off a whopping 25-1 at the Co Kilkenny track despite running well in a decent heat the time before at Leopardstown, the son of Kodiac defied his position in the market in some style, and in doing so he posted some very useful numbers compared to higher rated horses on the same card. Form-wise, it was good to see the runner-up that day, Take My Hand, go on and run a massive race at the Galway Festival next time and that only goes to add to the levels of confidence attached to this improving three-year-old here this afternoon. Moreover, now he’s unequivocally proven he stays a well-run seven-furlongs extremely strongly, today’s test in a likely well-run, big-field, therefore, should be right up his street and from not a disastrous draw in stall 8, Thomas Cleary’s gelding rates one of the best bets on the card.

Kodiac Prince - 1pt e/w @ 4/1