Racing

Jack Kennedy's onto a winner

Neville Ring

JACK KENNEDY has shown he’s well able to ride, his mounts are chosen carefully, and punters are increasingly taking note of the 7lb claimer.

He looks to have a big chance at Limerick on Saturday afternoon on Ibsen in the featured two-mile-five-furlong novice hurdle.

Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old was beaten favourite at Ballinrobe last time but it was still a decent run and the form looks solid enough.

He stayed well on the Flat and this step back up in trip should be in his favour as he has already run well over two-miles-six-furlongs over hurdles before.

The Gatechecker looked a nice horse when winning his bumper here but hasn’t quite lived up to that over hurdles. He got turned over on his debut over the plastics here and just scraped home at Ballinrobe last time ahead of a horse rated 96. There should be more improvement to come.

He may be able to turn around form now with Star Counsel, who beat him in Killarney but has been well held since in Kilbeggan.

Aunt Alice, who was behind her in Kilbeggan, is another on a retrieval mission.

Ibsen probably has The Gatekeeper to worry about most, although both Star Counsel and Aunt Alice are players on their best form.

There’s any amount of dead wood in the opening 18-runner maiden hurdle. New Kid In Town is making his hurdling debut but has fair bumper form. There’s some concern about his absence since this time last year though.

Castle Guest, rated 98 on the Flat, went out to Meydan during the winter but failed to make any impression.

Pat Flynn’s Hes Our Music is also rated in the 90s but hasn’t been seen since starting favourite and pulling up in the charity race at Punchestown.

The two handicap hurdles are weak contests. Tramore winner Punch Bag might take the two-miler from Bashful Beauty and Thanks For Tea.

In the two-mile-three-furlong version, the winner should come from Farriers Gold, Drive On Locky or Rebel Cry.

The beginners’ chase is a fair contest and 15-runners ensure a spectacle.

Shadow Catcher is a smart performer at his best and will appreciate a bit of nice ground here on his chasing debut. He was rated in the high 130s over hurdles at his peak and might just have been a bit hard to place over flights last season.

He didn’t run too badly on his return here last month and that should have left him spot-on for today’s task.

Is Love Alive is an obvious danger and has the benefit of a couple of runs over fences. He ran a decent race to finish third to Flaming Dawn here last month and a repeat entitles him to go close.

Lord Adare has been knocking on the door over fences and may have to settle for minor honours again. He ran well on his last visit here when second to Drayton Place and that gives him a shout.

Sandra Hughes gives two their first outings over fences and both showed a decent level over timber. Pink Coat ran off 128 when last seen at Punchestown and is one to watch. Off The Charts’ form had tailed off a bit and he had dropped to a mark of 124 when last seen at Fairyhouse.

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