Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Racing

Kate can be great and give home crowd plenty to cheer on

 

By Ron McKnight

Caerleon Kate can provide an Ulster triumph at Downpatrick's holiday fixture today. The handicap hurdle has seven declared, with Caerleon Kate - trained at Crossgar by Colin McBratney - taken to prevail.

The local runner filled second place, denied by a nose by Immortal Bridge, at the track last month.

The Gordon Elliott-trained pair Polymath and Blue Empyrean finished third and fourth in that contest and will re-oppose today.

Scotch Beg won a bumper at the venue last month for Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver and makes his hurdling debut.

The opener has five runners, including Atlantic Breaker which won last month at the course and is trained by 'magical' Mark McNiff, whose runners excel at Downpatrick.

However, Mr Showtime and Westland Row hold superior claims and the latter gets the vote for the formidable partnership of Elliott and Davy Russell.

Super Bowl, trained by Willie Mullins with Ruby Walsh aboard, will be the favourite in the maiden hurdle, but the Elliott-trained Leomar, fourth at the track, could offer better value, while Unchago, trained by McNiff, is noteworthy despite the fact he's making his debut.

Willie Mullins sends Blixt up for the mares maiden hurdle in an attempt to open her account.

Blixt again flopped last month when finishing fourth over the course and, while getting the selection again, Field Exhibition and Field Robin could prove alternatives.

Pat's Pearl, Shek O Lad and Canova all have recent placed form at the course, while King Of Aran returns to hurdling having gained his handicap mark when winning over flights in 2011 at the track.

Wilphania, trained by Tom Taaffe, would enter calculations if repeating his penultimate effort, but Pat's Pearl gets the vote for this one.

Sligo handler McNiff is doubly represented in the long distance hurdle with June Carter and Miss Blanche, the latter a winner over fences last month, able to enhance the trainer's record at the track.

TB Broke, runner-up last month, is the danger.

Elliott, three times leading trainer at Downpatrick, can claim the finale with Anytime Now if accounting for the Mullins family newcomer Exchange Rate and only five runners.

It should be an intriguing card.

Selections: 3.05 Westland Row; 3.40 Leomar; 4.10 Blixt; 4.40 Pat's Pearl; 5.10 Caerleon Kate; 5.40 Miss Blanche; 6.10 Anytime Now

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