Monday 19 February 2018

Tharawaat can deliver for Elliott-Maguire alliance

Jason Maguire, who enjoyed such a fine campaign in Britain last season for Donald McCain's powerful yard, teams up at Down Royal this afternoon with fellow Meath native Gordon Elliott and their previously successful Perth alliance should be maintained here, writes Damien McElroy.

As the ground will be heavy for this delayed fixture, the guaranteed fitness of the Elliott runners could be a vital asset for the partnership, even if the experienced Silverlord may have to give best to Dylan Ross in the opening Sean Graham Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle.

Tim Carroll claims the full allowance on Noel Meade's four-year-old, which has landed two bumpers -- the most recent of them at this venue early last month -- and coming from these quarters, the Shantou gelding is bound to have been well schooled.

The boot could be on the other foot in the Stallion Farms Beginners Chase, however, unless Elliott's former crack juvenile hurdler Tharawaat repeats his early Clonmel blunder that gave Davy Russell no chance of staying aboard behind Torphichen.

Previously, Maguire's (pictured) mount stayed on resolutely to claim the runner-up berth at Punchestown behind Thegreatjohnbrowne and a repetition here of that level of performance may suffice to get the better of Meade's course hurdles victor Monastrell.

The Maguire-Elliott axis might be on the mark too in the Adam & Ann Armstrong Memorial Handicap Chase if the 10-year-old Imperial Storm likewise reproduces his display of two runs ago at this track when beating all except Darling Harbour.

The ITBA Northern Region Hunters Chase features local multiple point-to-point winner Top Twig attempting to transfer his party piece to the racecourse proper as Jimmy Mangan's much younger Annacarton makes the long trek from Cork to thrown down the gauntlet.

Just a length off this country's current leading hunter/chaser Kilty Storm in a Dromahane point last month, Annacarton will have the assistance of Katie Walsh on this occasion and they may have the legs of Top Twig where it matters most.

Irish Independent

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