Cowboy set to hit target for Gordon Elliott
Down Royal stages the first fixture of the new Ulster season this afternoon and the Gordon Elliott-trained Hold Em Cowboy can claim the opening Punters Pack Handicap Chase.
Hold Em Cowboy disappointed last weekend at Fairyhouse – however the selection will hopefully not encounter similar conditions today.
Elliott's charge won on his penultimate start and was destined for victory when falling two from home at Downpatrick in December.
Witness Of Fashion, which won the Fairyhouse race, and In Great Form, which filled second behind the Elliott runner last month, appear the principal dangers.
Locally-owned Drawn N Drank finished second at the Lisburn track on Boxing Day and, along with Blissful Moment, has place claims in a competitive contest.
Katnap gets the vote in the NI Hotel Federation Beginners Chase having finished second to Mount Collah at Thurles.
All Day Long is the obvious danger while Butney Boy, trained in Crossgar by Colin McBratney, should be noted at his local course.
El Soro is interesting, with the Arthur Moore-trained horse having finished third on heavy going at Galway to Gilgamboa – the latter going on to win the valuable Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown and was well supported on his chasing debut only to fall.
The feature is the Martinstown Opportunity Riders Chase and sponsor JP McManus is doubly represented with El Mondo and Take A Shot.
The former finished third at Naas to Reality Dose – which again opposes – while the latter has been off the track for almost a year but is a dual course winner.
Reality Dose is taken to follow up for trainer Liz Doyle while Take A Shot could supply the danger despite the absence.
Leavethelighton stands out in the Sean Graham Bookmakers Hurdle following two excellent placed efforts behind Wounded Warrior and Los Amigos – the pair above average.
Couleur France, trained by Noel Meade for the Hunt family, looks the danger with the connections having an excellent record at the Maze.
The locally trained Quickasyoucan, having finished third on Boxing Day in a decent contest, has claims while It'll Do Rightly makes his debut for Banbridge handler Sarah Dawson.
Six Senses, based on his second at Navan last November, has place prospects.
Gold Not Silver, Western Man, Ram and the locally trained Maple Valley Gold make most appeal in the handicap hurdle.
Gold Not Silver gets the vote on recent placed efforts while Western Man could prove next best.
Only seven have been declared for the Novice Handicap Hurdle and Roman General is taken to account for Cassells Rock and Travis McGee.
The concluding bumper again has just seven due to start and the majority are newcomers.
Railway Rule, having finished fourth on his debut in a Leopardstown bumper, looks the favourite however Ange D'Or Javilex, Brother Bennett and On Fiddlers Green catch the eye being from stables capable of first time success.
On Fiddlers Green, having in-form local rider Steven Crawford on board, could supply the best value.
TELEGRAPH TOP TIPS: 1.15 Hold Em Cowboy 1.45 Katnap 2.15 Reality Dose 2.50 Leavethelighton 3.25 Gold Not Silver 3.55 Roman General 4.25 On Fiddlers Green