Top of the Town the best bet on Tipperary card

Trainer Gordon Elliott runs Crest in the two-mile-seven-furlong beginners' chase at Tipperary on Thursday
Neville Ring

MERRION Row attempts to follow up his Downpatrick success in the featured €15,000 handicap chase at Tipperary this evening. The Philip Rothwell-trained nine-year-old put a string of dismal non-completions behind him when third at Down Royal and built on that performance by going two better at the other northern track towards the end of March.

He has been raised 5lb but is still well treated compared to his old hurdling figure of 88 as against 112. Although so is Afatcat, who was a decent third behind Hello Sweetie and Eight Till Late at Ballinrobe recently when returning from a spell. He runs here off a mark 7lb below his hurdling rating and Steve Mahon’s team are finding their form now on the faster ground.

Blackwater Bridge and Cahirconree are others to consider in an open event. Deano got no further than the first at Tramore on his most recent start but isn’t overly fazed in this company. Bellgrove is another seemingly struggling at the moment but isn’t as bad as his recent runs suggest while Souband will appreciate the ground. Afatcat might make the most of this opportunity.

Crest has been costly to follow since being sent over fences but gets another opportunity to break through in the two-mile-seven-furlong beginners' chase.

Gordon Elliott's charge may have most to fear from Charles Byrnes’ runner Top Of The Town, who was a useful handicap hurdler, rated 127, and was last seen finishing fourth when in search of a hat-trick at Cheltenham back in October. Davy Russell rides and can come out best.

Coldstonesober rolled back the years to spring a surprise over fences at Fairyhouse's Easter Festival in a lady riders' chase and reverts to the smaller obstacles on a 7lb lower rating in the second half of the divided handicap hurdle. The first division sees Knockraha King, in form after a win and a second in February, heading the weights. He may just reverse placings with his Thurles conqueror Clounts Meadows.

In the opening two-mile maiden hurdle, Elliott’s Knockmaole Boy has his sights considerably lowered after backing up an encouraging NH debut second behind Bleu Berry with a less promising 40 lengths fifth at Punchestown in the race won by Kilfenora. Guitar George and All’s Quiet look possible dangers.

There will be some smart pointers on show in the final two races, with Smithstown, Fabulous Saga and Danse Away, second, third and fourth behind Double Portrait at Cork last month all reopposing in the finale. I’d like Fabulous Saga which may find Celtic Rising his most difficult opponent.

In the previous mares’ race, the likes of Kings Dolly, Nana Joan and Shesakeeper, all placed behind behind Lackaneen Leader in the mares' bumper at Cork on Easter Monday with just four lengths between them, appear to dominate. Kings Dolly and Jamie Codd can emerge best again.


Neville Ring

5.10 Knockmaole

5.40 Knockraha King

6.10 Coldstonesober

6.40 Afatcat (Dbl)

7.10 Top Of The Town (Nap)

7.40 Dimple

8.10 Kings Dolly

8.40 Fabulous Saga

Next Best

5.10 Guitar George

5.40 Clounts Meadows

6.10 Knockraha Boss

6.40 Bellgrove

7.10 Crest

7.40 Dingle Gin

8.10 Shesakeeper

8.40 Smiths Corner



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