Worth taking a shot on Flood hope in Kilbeggan showpiece
A year after winning the first of two handicap chases at Kilbeggan, Irish Grand National heroine Liberty Counsel will this evening be the guest of honour at the pleasant Westmeath venue's opening salvo for 2013.
Following her brave 50/1 Fairyhouse triumph, Dot Love's pride and joy is to parade at her local track, as the Bank Holiday festivities kick off with a €10,500 feature that she won tidily under Ben Dalton in 2012, having previously pulled up in the mares' race at the Easter Festival on her first start for 18 months. As such, this will be a deserved ceremonial visit to the popular venue.
On his step up to three miles, the JP McManus-owned Take A Shot is fancied to plunder the latest edition of the Sean Hughes Memorial Handicap Chase.
A hurdle winner off today's mark of 101, the Francis Flood-trained nine-year-old scored off 95 over fences at Down Royal in December, before then finishing a respectable third at Punchestown.
On his only subsequent start, Take A Shot looked one-paced over two and a half miles when fifth at Clonmel in March, and that form was done no harm by the fourth, Uncle Tom Cobley, winning at Ballinrobe on Tuesday.
With that in mind, a first stab at this trip could bring about the required improvement in Mark Walsh's mount.
McManus might also see his colours carried to victory on Edward O'Grady's All Day Long in the two-mile maiden hurdle.
Second to smart prospects Marlbrook and Not For You at Gowran Park and Wexford respectively on his only two hurdle outings, the Sadler's Wells five-year-old should be able to go one better in what is a pretty tame affair.
In the mares beginners chase, Dessie Hughes' frustrating Chasing Shadows is opposed with Sean O'Brien's Caoimhe's Delight.
A half-sister to Golantilla, Caoimhe's Delight is already a point-to-point, bumper and hurdle winner, so she has scope to step up under Adrian Heskin.
The nap vote goes to Kevin Prendergast's Coquette Noire in the www.louthholidays.com-sponsored seven-furlong maiden at Dundalk.
A three-parts sister to the disqualified 2010 1,000 Guineas winner Jacqueline Quest, Chris Hayes' partner was denied by just a nose when collared by Rapid Approach on her reappearance, form that has since held up well.
In the three-year-old maiden over an extended 10 furlongs, Manhattan Swing will take all the beating for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen.
On his autumn bow over a mile at Navan, the Invincible Spirit gelding was a staying-on third behind subsequent Group One winner Loch Garman and recent Leopardstown victor Indian Chief. That constitutes top-class form.