I find it highly interesting that Mark McDonagh has been booked to ride Sandy Thomson’s Hill Sixteen in the big handicap at Ayr. McDonagh had one ride all week at the Cheltenham Festival and won the Martin Pipe aboard Banbridge that day. He also won the Ulster National at Downpatrick aboard Spades Are Trumps for Gavin Cromwell a few days later.
That is not all though as he also won the big handicap at the Leopardstown Festival aboard Birchdale. This lad is so valuable for his 5lb claim and clearly thrives in large-field handicaps. Hill Sixteen may have the burden of top weight but he is the class act in the race and he was a fine second in a Listed chase at Kelso last month. He should hit the frame at a nice price. – Adrian Wall
The two best supported horses in the Eider three weeks ago were the winner and History Of Fashion. The Irish raider unseated his rider at the eighth fence, running on late into third at Navan since. He shapes as if he is a dour stayer, exiting the Eider before that theory was ever able to be tested.
From the same mark here, it’s a bit of a surprise that he is not shorter in the market. Perhaps it’s those jumping frailties that are the reason. That is far from ideal in such a competitive handicap but given the visual impression he creates and the fact that he was well backed in the Eider, he is well worth giving another chance to in the hope that he can make up into a national type. – Matt Newman
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