Mustadrik appeals for in-form Elliott
Bellewstown opens its gates this evening for the first of its two summer festivals with a card that is mixed in terms of its make-up and quality
The picturesque Meath venue on the Hill of Crockafatha has a unique charm and novelty appeal that invariably results in a carnival atmosphere.
Tonight, Gordon Elliott's in-form team is typically well represented. In the Lime Kiln Gastro Pub Handicap over a mile and six furlongs, Elliott's Mustadrik must concede weight all round, but he is an intriguing runner.
Since moving from Barry Hills, the four-year-old has progressed well over flights, winning his last two outings by an aggregate 26 lengths. He has begun to improve apace, so it will be fascinating to see if he can translate that progression back to the Flat, with the talented apprentice Jack Kennedy taking a valuable seven pounds off his back.
The same duo might also plunder the Seamus Mulvaney Handicap Hurdle with Be Seeing You, while Luke Dempsey keeps the ride aboard Moonmeister in the following novices' hurdle, having won aboard him on his hurdle debut at Downpatrick.
It is a poor race that could well bring up a hat-trick for Elliott.
On the Flat, Ross O'Sullivan and Niall McCullagh are tipped to take the juvenile maiden with the Limerick runner-up Zeb's Fantasy, while Aidan and Donnacha O'Brien might have the key to the McCabes Mitsubishi Motors Handicap in Sherlock Holmes. A Galileo half-brother to the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic hero Drosselmeyer, the ready Ballinrobe maiden winner is potentially thrown in here off a mark of 87 for 9st 3lb.
The day's nap vote goes to Bog War at Tipperary. Liam Cusack's five-year-old is another that has made giant strides over flights of late, completing a trio of wins at Punchestown in May. In tonight's finale, he reverts to the level off a mark that is just three pounds higher than that off which he won at Ballinrobe last year, so he should go close for Leigh Roche.
Also fancied at the Limerick Junction venue is Spartan's Queen in the juvenile fillies' maiden. John Oxx's sole runner at the fixture caught the eye when keeping on gamely for fourth on her Leopardstown bow.