Whistle to blow away her rivals

Neville Ring

DUAL bumper winner Whistle Dixie takes her first steps over hurdles in the opening mares’ maiden hurdle, which gets Galway’s second stage under way this afternoon. 

Gordon Elliott’s mare signed off last season with a fine fourth in Listed company at Aintree and could make her mark amongst the better novice hurdlers this season.

She is a half-sister to eight winners, notably Gold Cup hero Kicking King, and won in good style at Limerick and Fairyhouse then slipped up at Sandown before winding up her campaign in that Listed race at Liverpool. 

Snaidhm has the advantage of plenty of jumping experience but is still in search of a first win. She’s collected some place money on most hurdle outings including when runner-up at the Listowel Festival last month, while Thurles bumper winner Elusive Ivy holds a similar level of form over hurdles.

Whistle Dixie can show her class.

Elliott runs Captain Von Trappe in the beginners’ chase, having seen the six-year-old finish third on his chasing bow at Punchestown behind Don Vincenzo and Full Cry. He could have things very much his own way.

Caledon Craic was well exposed before his last run at Sligo, while Salsa Sensation and The Winkler are both ordinary hurdle winners attempting to join the chasing ranks. 

The latter was rated 122 over hurdles but was beaten 33 lengths by Lord Scoundrel over fences at Limerick and trailed previously at Tramore. 

Salsa Sensation races in the McManus colours and landed the odds in a Downpatrick maiden hurdle last March.

Altiepix represents Elliott in the rated novice hurdle, but the Downpatrick winner faces some tougher opposition. Baily Cloud won on his return at Gowran for Mouse Morris and is improving, but Childrens List looks the bet for Willie Mullins, having followed up a Downpatrick victory with a solid effort in handicap company last time when third to Buster Dan Dan. 

The richest race on the card is the handicap chase. Ravished takes a major drop in class and rates a serious threat having won Nationals at both Killarney and Kilbeggan this summer. The top weight only gave best from two out last time in the Munster National at Limerick.  

Veteran Valours Minion has proved some servant to connections, winning an amazing eight times in just over 13 months, and may still have scope for further success off his current mark. He won at this meeting a year ago and is now 32lb higher. There is little to choose between him and Aranhill Chief on their run over two-and-a-half miles at Navan last month.

Val O’Brien’s 12-year-old finishes off his races strongly and is twice a winner here. Aranhill Chief won over course and distance in the Blazers last year, and a slight mistake at the last didn’t help his chance at Navan. For all his weight, Ravished might take some beating.

Sligo publican has a chance at a price in the other handicap chase and Steel Wave still has a sniff in the handicap hurdle.


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