Saturday 24 March 2018

Margin can yield profit on Limerick's 'Australia day'

Holders of a valid Australian passport are entitled to free admission at Limerick this afternoon when the course marks Australia Day with a commendable initiative by manager Russell Ferris, writes DAMIEN McELROY.

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 young Pat Mangan's 5lb claim.

Third to Aughaloor's stable companion Bishopsfurze and Start Me Up last time out at Thurles, Profit Margin, which also has a point-to-point win to his name, 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 confined to mares with Dare To Doubt -- in the colours of English owner Jim Ennis -- after a couple of useful performances in Cork, most recently when beating all except Foildubh as favourite last month.

Elsewhere on the card, the Tramore winners Goban Saor and Givemeabuzz could defy 2lb and 7lb penalties, respectively, in the handicap hurdles which comprise the first half of a Jackpot which benefits from yesterday's Navan rollover of €2,508.

Irish Independent

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