Last years winner Stuccodor has another crack at the Irish Lincolnshire and tries to defend his crown. He prevailed inan exciting finish twelve month ago and trainer Dermot Weld will be pleased to see the rain arriving right in time. Stuccodor proved gutsy last year and with conditions to suit is one of the main contenders once again. However he has to overcome a massive weight this time, even though this is offset to an extend by a useful claimer in the saddle. Nonetheless this looks a stronger race than last year and it is a big task to win this as the top weight.
The lightly raced Onenightidreamed heads the market and his lightly raced profile gives him a very fair chance to go close off a potentially lenient mark, if he can overcome an almost year long break. Another well fancied horse in single-figure odds is Unsinkable. He won a big Apprentice Handicap at Leopardstown when last seen and could well improve further, but first has to overcome a 11lb hike in the mark. Not an easy task in a classy field as this years one in the Irish Lincolnshire.
A lightly raced contender is certainly You’re Fired as well. Progressive over the last two seasons, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going close. He’ll relish any drop of rain. But is he good enough? We’ll find out. Veteran Vastonea won the Topaz Mile at the Galway Festival last year and ended last season on a high, when going agonisingly close in the Irish Cambridgeshire of a career highest mark. Boomshackerlacker ran with loads of credit at Meydan’s dirt this winter, but may find this here a big ask off a big weight over a trip he’s never been successful at.
It’s noteworthy that Frederik Tylicki comes over from the UK only to ride Haaf A Sixpence. The six year old gelding was much improved lately when landing a good Southwell Handicap. He may have finally turned the corner and a return to turf right into a big handicap may well suit. He has done remarkably well in those kind of races in the past and is only 2lb above his last turf winning mark, which came in a very strong Newmarket Handicap in autumn 2013.
Defining Year, the second Weld runner in this race, has a poor strike record over the one mile trip, but ran a couple of excellent races in defeat. It has to be noted that he comes down in the weights and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going close. Aiden o’Brien saddles improving Bishan Bedi. He’s been a good winner on the Dundalk All-Weather, and may have still a bit more to give, but that says he has to improve quite a bit to have a chance.
You always have to respect Kevin Prendergast runners and I feel he has an outstanding chance to go really close with lightly raced Maskoon. The now four year old ran a couple of really nice races last year, has proven track, trip and ground record and may well exploit his Handicap mark. He gets a very nice chance by the handicapper and with the 5lb claim of useful apprentice Gary Paul Halpin in the saddle, he should really be a big runner here.
Another one who may be able to make use of a slipping mark is Third Dimension. He won a good maiden over 1m last year, and ended the season with a very strong effort in a big 10f Handicap at Leopardstown, when he didn’t get the run of the race but made eye-catching progress in the closing stages. With the soft going in his favour, I feel tone mile could be about the right test for him with the likely fast pace sure to suit.
Hasanour was improving all the time last season. A winner at the Galway Festival and subsequently at the Curragh, both times in hot Handicaps, he should have the right tools to run really well, if he is fit on his seasonal debut. He has to overcome a career highest mark, but could be up to it. Aussie Valentine could be a dark horse. Silvestre De Sousa is an interesting jockey booking.
Verdict: Plenty of chances, and I feel that Maskoon could easily outrun his big price tag. He’s allot in his favour. Haaf A Sixpence looks a serious chance as well. He loves these type or races and poses good recent form. He is overpriced in my mind, as well as progressive Third Dimension, who may find an ideal test in the Irish Lincolnshire.
Maskoon @ 16/1 Stan James – 5pts win
Haaf A Sixpence @ 14/1 Betfred – 2.5pts win
Third Dimension @ 20/1 Stan James – 2.5pts win