Thursday 19 April 2018

Nolan favourites should be opposed

Should tomorrow's Thurles card get the all clear after an inspection this afternoon, Paul Nolan (right) looks set to saddle a pair of favourites in the two maiden hurdles. Both can be taken on by more attractively priced opposition.

In the mares' race, Nolan is represented by Golden Sunbird, which was unlucky not to win at Limerick recently when a slow jump at the last cost her valuable momentum. Given that Golden Sunbird had a hard race on that occasion, the forecast 13/8 looks prohibitive, and there may be a ready alternative in Grancore Girl.

A dual bumper winner in 2008, Thomas O'Leary's mare spent most of last season on the sidelines, but returned with a massively promising effort at Cork a month ago. Partnered by Davy Russell, the daughter of Flemensfirth was beaten 20 lengths, having raced wide for most of the race.

Ultimately, once it became clear to Russell that the race-fit Morning Supreme wasn't going to be caught up the straight, the Cork-born rider didn't give his mount too hard a time of things. Grancore Girl never looked like being caught for the runner-up spot, leaving the impression that she would soon be back in the winner's enclosure.

Should she show average improvement, then, Grancore Girl ought to give Golden Sunbird a tough time of things.

Due to be partnered for a first time by Sean Flanagan, she thrives on heavy ground, and 6/1 looks far too big to ignore.

Far Away So Close is the other Nolan jolly that may be beatable.

This son of Norwich has finished second in a bumper and a hurdle race, his only two career starts to date.

Having chased home the subsequent Grade One winner Hollo Ladies at Navan, Far Away So Close is a worthy favourite here.

However, he could trade at very skimpy odds because of that bit of form, and Colleoni may be the one to oppose him with.

Without a win in 14 career starts, Jessica Harrington's five-year-old is due a bit of luck. A consistent sort, Colleoni ran smartly on the Flat in the autumn, latterly finishing fourth in the November Handicap.

He then kept on to finish second over hurdles at Thurles, and that form ties in favourably with Far Away So Close.

Curling, which was more than five lengths behind Colleoni in fifth at Thurles, was subsequently only a head behind Far Away So Close at Navan.

If that form transfers to tomorrow, then 6/1 about Colleoni looks a steal.

Irish Independent

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