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The early weeks of the new year can see reduced entries, with many horses given a brief break once the main autumn meetings are finished in mid-December.

In a week or two they will all be back among the entries again but it does make for two relatively small entries at Aghabullogue and Kilfeacle this weekend, with 133 combined between the two cards.

At Aghabullogue, the opening mares' maiden could go to Lorna Casey's charge Girly Girl, which was placed on all three starts last season and makes her seasonal return here.

Colin Bowe has Johnniesofa entered here and also at Kilfeacle but the Aghabullogue five-year-old maiden looks the easier option and having been second on his debut puts him in a strong position to score here.

The return to action of the twice Cheltenham Foxhunters placed Oscar Delta will bring interest to the Open, where the Adrian Maguire-trained Two Rockers is bidding for a hat trick and will be hard to beat.

Paul Moloney has Lonesome Glory in the winners' race and he could be one to follow at a big price.

At Kilfeacle, the opening race could go to the David O'Brien-trained Hey Bill, which would have been placed at Lingstown last time but for falling at the last.

Sean Hennessy has an experienced sort in the confined maiden in Beneficarius and he may overcome the John Gleason's Misty Mai, which ran very well at Dromahane on debut.

David Harry Kelly won the four-year-old bumper at Naas last weekend so his yard is in good form, and his Captain Bizarro could be the one to beat in the four-year-old bumper.

Enda Bolger has entered Mossey Joe in the open, and although he was disappointing last time, this is a high-class former Champion Hunter Chaser which looks banker material here.

The winners' race looks above average, with Gentle Cloud for Padraig Higgins and Lord Heathfield for William Elliott going head to head in the race of the day.

Number of the week

12 - The countdown is well and truly on for Derek O'Connor, who is now 12 winners away from becoming the first point-to-point rider to ride 1,000 winners. We will keep a track of this weekly; under normal circumstances it would take him less than 7 meetings to achieve this which would see him hit the magic total in early February.

Horse to follow

Sounds Of Italy provided Terry Ryan who is originally a local to the Templenacarriga track with a winner last Sunday in the six-year-old maiden. He looks a horse with plenty of improvement and can progress to a career on the track.

Weekend selection

Sean Hennessy has Fairweather Friend entered in the mares' maiden at both meetings and wherever she turns up she will be hard to beat as she has a lot of track form to recommend her.

Weekend fixtures


Muskerry (F) at Aghabullogue 12.30

(F) at Kilfeacle 12.30

Irish Independent