Thursday 22 March 2018

Tijuana Dancer ready to waltz away with Listowel showpiece

Richie Forristal

If the card on day five at Listowel is a bit less glamorous than yesterday's, it is no less busy.

Eight races fill the mixed programme, with another massively competitive highlight, the Guinness Handicap Hurdle, set to dominate proceedings.

Lucky 15 quartet

Tijuana Dancer can improve on two recent efforts to take the €27,625 contest.

A winner of a maiden for Ruby Walsh and Tony Martin at Clonmel in March, the six-year-old never featured when he reappeared on the Flat at Sligo early last month.

On reverting to hurdles next time, Tijuana Dancer performed slightly better when third in a conditions event at Down Royal.

Off just 10st 1lb on his handicap debut now, it would be no surprise to see him make further progress.

In the Kevin McManus Beginners' Chase, Dashing Ruby has claims on its fencing debut. Twice a winner over flights last year, Paul Flynn's charge has been running well, and was unlucky to tip up when in contention at Killarney last time.

With John Oxx's horses showing more pep this week, Swing Pattern can take the Tote Jackpot Guarantee Maiden, while Mayday Frontier is another live contender for Paul Flynn in the Devon Inn Hotel Handicap Hurdle.

A runner-up on four of his last five starts, the step up to three miles could make the all difference today.

Outsider to note

Karma, a winner on easy going at Sligo last year, could defy double-figure odds to figure prominently in the TP Walsh Memorial Handicap.

On her seasonal debut at Killarney in July, Ben Curtis' mount ran well for a long way before tiring, and her trainer Tom Hogan's horses have been in much better form of late.

Apprentice bookings

Things are getting tight at the top of the apprentices' table, with Gary Carroll now just one behind Ben Curtis.

Of Carroll's three mounts today, Lyle Lady is probably the pick in the 3.55, while Curtis has each-way prospects on both Karma (3.25) and Frutti Tutti (3.55).

Joseph O'Brien, six behind Curtis on 21, also has two spins, the Tipperary winner Big Occasion a likely favourite in Karma's race.

Key Listowel stat

Michael Hourigan has won three of the last six runnings of the day's feature, the Guinness Handicap Hurdle.

Each of those three returned at long odds, and the Patrickswell trainer goes in search of a fourth victory with another outsider, Lend A Hand Son, this afternoon.

Irish Independent

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