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Gordon hoping Oz Day is an Abbey one

Holders of a valid Australian passport are entitled to free admission at Limerick today when the course marks Australia Day with a commendable initiative by manager Russell Ferris.

Bruce Davis, Australia's ambassador to Ireland, is due to make his first visit to the track and an early arrival is suggested as the main race, quality-wise, is the opening Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle, in which Abbey Lane makes his seasonal debut.

Gordon Elliott's top weight earned a rating of 123 following victories at Perth and Gowran Park last summer, but conditions underfoot will be very different now and Paul Carberry's mount could struggle to keep tabs on another hat-trick seeker, Aughaloor.

Indeed this pair could be vulnerable to both John Larkin's recent surprise Fairyhouse victor Bayross and the Oliver McKiernan-trained Profit Margin, a year-younger winner of a decent Cork maiden hurdle, whose burden is eased by Pat Mangan's 5lb claim.

Third to Aughaloor's stable companion Bishopsfurze and Start Me Up last time out at Thurles, Profit Margin may not have got home on that occasion and the three furlongs-shorter trip this afternoon could be ideal.

The five-year-old's owners, the Red Gap Partnership, may be in for a rewarding meeting as their Healys Bar is preferred to Thurles final-fence casualty Big Secret for the Greenmount Beginners Chase after a creditable Leopardstown third to Rahan De Marcigny and Tawaagg.

Willie Mullins can land the Irish Stallion Farms Maiden Hurdle with Dare To Doubt.

Belfast Telegraph


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