Alpha Ridge to bounce back
Published 19/01/2010 | 05:00
Racing has made a welcome return following the Arctic blast, and the Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase is the feature event on a seven-race card at Naas today.
Alpha Ridge is the class act, but needs to put a terrible run over Christmas behind him, when his jumping went astray.
He's better judged on his previous second to Pandorama in the Drinmore, and a repeat of that would make him too strong for Oscar Looby, Telenor and Beckett Rock.
Muirhead has taken in nine straight Grade One assignments since winning his maiden and has his sights lowered in the Limestone Lad Hurdle. The seven-year-old disappointed Noel Meade at Leopardstown last time but he should reverse form with fourth-home De Valira, while Ebadiyan and Wild Passion have plenty to prove now.
Meade saddles Accord Aris in the opening INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle (12.35) but a place may be the best he can hope for, with Cadspeed expected to take the world of beating.
Luska Lad hasn't really lived up to expectations so far over timber but his fourth to Hollo Ladies wasn't bad most recently and the EBF Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle looks much more to his liking.
He has the measure of Baron De'L on their Leopardstown running and a more interesting rival is Ballyholland, who appears for the first time since his Galway Plate triumph.
The hat-trick-seeking Four Chimneys tops the list for the Cheltenham Trial Day On 21st February Handicap Hurdle, but Hearthstead Dream, The Wandering Man and Smack That provide stiff opposition.
Seabass is unexposed but will find last year's winner Topofdemornintou a tough nut to crack in the Maynooth Handicap Chase, while Angus House is sure to have his supporters in the Ladbrokes Cheltenham Bumper Series INH Flat Race.