This is a tricky handicap over a mile and four furlongs, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: This conditions event won’t take much winning and a speculative vote is taken on BROKOPONDO. He won a 1m 4f handicap at Dundalk back in February and a repeat of that effort could see him outrun his odds in this for a stable that do well here. Ezanak is open to any amount of improvement whilst Motherland is the one they all have to beat although he looks slightly on the short side.
1 BENKEI – Son of Galileo and he’s recorded four victories from 34 runs to date. He’s been tried over further than this recently and his last win came in summer of last year over 1m 6f so it’s a small surprise to see him dropped in trip here having looked better over further. He shoulders top weight in this and the yard have an 11% strike rate here (2 winners from 18 runners).
2 BROKOPONDO – Won a 1m 4f handicap at Dundalk back in February and he ran with credit in a decent handicap subsequently at Naas. He was slightly disappointing on Soft ground last time out at Leopardstown and the drop back in trip should help here returned to slightly better ground. His trainer has been in decent form of late (2 wins from 10 runners) and they have a 20% strike rate here.
3 CASH IN MIND – French import who makes his stable debut today for Des Donovan. He showed plenty of promise in France in low grade handicaps winning on several occasions but they all came on much better ground than this and his liking for today’s surface is questionable. He has spent 158 days off the track and is probably best watched here with something to find at the weights.
4 MANDATARIO – Jim Bolger’s runner has won three times from 11 starts over trips of a mile, a mile and 7 furlongs and 2 miles. He’s run to a fair level this winter with two efforts on the sand at Dundalk and he returns to turf here on what may be slightly unsuitable ground (has won on Firm and Good ground). Yard have a decent 11% strike rate here and they have been in fair form of late so he’s of interest at a bigger price.
5 MOTHERLAND – One of the least exposed runners in this field and he’s not been seen since running out a long-distance winner of a Galway handicap last summer. He has placed and won twice for Joseph O’Brien in three starts and looks just the sort to progress again this year as a son of Galileo. He’s the highest rated in this field and although shouldering 9st 9lbs, should have a bit in hand with a few of these. Respected with Donnacha O’Brien on board.
6 SWAMP FOX – One of the most consistent horses in training with four wins and 12 placed efforts from 22 starts. He struggled towards the end of last year on bad ground and he should do better returned to the flat here off a 113-day break. He has form in Yielding conditions and should be seen to good effect here although he has a bit to find with a few of these. Yard have been out of form of late without a winner from their last 10 runners/
7 ADIMELO – Flat debut today having been raced over hurdles and in National Hunt flat races to date. He was well-beaten on two occasions last year and he’s been lightly-raced for a 7yo which has probably been the result of a few injuries. This is the yard’s first runner here and Billy Lee is an interesting booking with a 22% strike rate here, recording a profit of £63.21. Others make more appeal although market support would be significant.
8 EZANAK – Half-brother to a couple of nice types and he should come on plenty for a seasonal return to action earlier this month. He stayed on towards the end having been held up and he should do better with an extra 2 furlongs ahead of him here as well as with the benefit of race fitness. The yard has been in good form of late with five winners from their last 23 runners and he is likely to be very popular in this.
9 TANDEM – Excellent career record with six wins from 19 starts and he recorded the last of those back in September 2015. He’s only been seen once since which came in Dubai of all places and he was well-beaten that day. He’s been kept in training and arrives here off a 434-day break. He certainly has quality about him but the long lay-off is a concern and the yard field Ezanak here who is open to far more improvement.