Steve Hughes has selections from the Curragh and Newcastle on the opening day of their respective three day festival meetings.
Although the action is not of the greatest standard at the Curragh and Newcastle on Thursday, each has an outstanding handicap featured, so I am concentrating on those two races for selections. Our only selection on Sunday Hats off To Larry was palced for the each-way bet (advised 7/1).
Newcastle 4.05: Bowerman
With only five runs scattered across four seasons, Bowerman has clearly had his issues, but given a clear run, 2019 could be the year he finally rewards his connections patience.
There is no doubting his talent as those runs have produced three wins and two placed efforts and he absolutely hacked up over course and distance at the end of April, confirming a liking for an artificial surface as he had already won twice on sand.
A 9lb rise leaves him with top weight here, but he looked to have all of that and more in hand that day and another two month break since that race should have refreshed him for a follow up bid here.
Curragh 7.45: Nitro Boost
There are some old favourites in this line up but the younger legs of Nitro Boost, the only 3yo in the line up can beat them all for speed.
She made her handicap debut at this track at the previous meeting and quickened up nicely from off the pace to beat Cityman by a half-length. Prior to that she had been plying her trade in listed company and her third at Cork in May showed she was heading in the right direction.
There could be more black type races ahead for her, but given the vast prize money on offer for this handicap this looks a good target at this stage of the season. Talented claimer Nathan Crosse keeps the ride after partnering her to win here and takes off a valuable 7lbs.
1.5pts win – Bowerman – 4.05 Newcastle – 15/8 general
0.75pts each-way – Nitro Boost – 7.45 Curragh – 8/1 general