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Miraculum can reign supreme at Downpatrick as racing returns to NI

 

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Flashback: Ben Harvey, in the red and white stripes, on his way to winning the Randox Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick riding Space Cadet in the last NI meeting before the Covid-19 shutdown

Flashback: Ben Harvey, in the red and white stripes, on his way to winning the Randox Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick riding Space Cadet in the last NI meeting before the Covid-19 shutdown

Flashback: Ben Harvey, in the red and white stripes, on his way to winning the Randox Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick riding Space Cadet in the last NI meeting before the Covid-19 shutdown

Racing returns to Northern Ireland at Downpatrick today, while Down Royal's Ulster Derby meeting has been scheduled for July 24.

Today's fixture, being held behind closed doors, has an imposed limit of 12 runners per race and is comprised of hurdle races and a bumper.

Downpatrick manager Richard Lyttle said: "I'm delighted racing has resumed at the course but I miss the atmosphere generated by the public - hopefully they will be able to return soon.

"I want to thank our long-standing sponsors who continue to support racing. I must commend Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (Turf Club) for the manner they have handled the pandemic and got racing going again.

"Their stringent protocols, including pre-registration and the accompanying health requirements and checks for anyone wanting to attend fixtures who require a bar code to gain admission, have worked well.

"However, the protocols and required changes for some facilities at the track incur added expense. We were fortunate to run our premier fixture and the Ulster Grand National just prior to racing becoming part of the lockdown. The course is in great condition and the going is good."

Miraculum could supply the banker bet on the card in the second division of the Toals Hurdle. Trained by Gavin Cromwell for local owner Cathal McGovern, the selection showed improved form to be placed on both recent starts.

A good third on the flat at Navan was followed up by filling second at Bellewstown over hurdles.

Balgowlah, a course and distance winner at the venue last October, and Whitango appear the dangers.

Maureen's Star gets the vote in the first division of the contest.

Trained by Liam Lennon in Newry, the mare flew home after the final fence at Kilbeggan for victory having being well supported in the market.

Caerleon Kate, trained by Colin McBratney, is a major threat being a course winner and with the Crossgar handler's team in good form. The Cromwell-trained duo Mary Of De Dorrows and Rockford Cave are open to improvement and are in the mix for places.

Racing gets under way with a very open maiden hurdle, which is restricted to mares.

Etincelle Lioterie, Imperial Allure, Coosan Clover and Dilly Filly form the shortlist with the former, trained by Joseph O'Brien, just preferred to the latter - the locally-trained filly having filled fourth on Grand National day at the course in March.

Ya Ya Boy, a previous course winner, gets the vote in the Randox Hurdle if accounting for Pasley, Felino De Bersy and Broken Ice in another tricky event.

Kilmurray finished runner-up at the track in March and the Niall Madden-trained runner, owned by JP McManus, returns to action in the handicap hurdle with major claims.

Alterno, with a couple of recent runs on the level and already a two-time course winner, could prove a bigger threat than Inishbel.

Enjoy D'Allen looks another good bet in the long-distance hurdle, with Soldiers Hill and Bloodstone the dangers.

Curlew Hill, representing Gordon Elliott and Jamie Codd, can claim the bumper with the Willie Mullins-trained Ruaille Buaille the likely favourite having finished third on her course debut.

SELECTIONS: 1.00 Etincelle Lioterie 1.30 Ya Ya Boy 2.00 Kilmurray 2.30 Enjoy D'Allen 3.00 Maureen's Star 3.30 Miraculum 4.00 Curlew Hill

Belfast Telegraph