Grimes contenders aiming for Galway place
COULD the colourful trainer Mick Winters have started a trend? Not with his unique fashion sense but rather his decision 12 months ago to take in the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary en route to Guinness Galway Hurdle glory.
Rebel Fitz completed that double last year and it would not be a huge surprise to see today's winner line up for the richest jumps race in the Irish calendar at Ballybrit on the first day of August.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins is represented by Midnight Game.
His son Patrick said: "The track will certainly suit Midnight Game, who is better on flat tracks. His form tailed off at the end of last season but he is a good horse when on song."
Running in a beginners' chase at Killarney on Wednesday would not appear to be to be the ideal preparation, but Jessica Harrington said this Grade 3 event had been on her radar for some time now for Steps To Freedom.
She said: "We've always had this race in mind for him no matter what happened at Killarney. He came out of that race in great form and I'm delighted with him. He takes his races very well. I just hope they don't water too much - he wants genuine good to firm ground."
Age is just a number to the evergreen Fosters Cross, who returned to winning ways on the Flat at Leopardstown last time. Tom Mullins reports the 11-year-old to have plenty of options at Galway after today's test.
"He's in great form and he's never any other way really," he said. "He appears to have a chance on the ratings and hopefully he'll be there or thereabouts. We have three options at Galway, including the hurdle, but we'll get this out of the way first."
Tipperary good to firm (watered)
Curragh good to firm (watered)
Newton Abbot good to firm, good in places (watered)
Redcar good to firm, firm in places (watered)
Stratford good to firm, good in places (watered)
Today's key pointers
Backing the favourite in Redcar claimers can be a profitable system - since the start of 2010 you would have found 15 winners from 30 races for a profit of £8.88 to £1 level stakes.
Since the start of 2008 Keith Reveley's record in Redcar apprentice handicaps reads 17111 (+£12.83 to £1 level stakes, the beaten horse was a 33-1 shot.) He bids to enhance that impressive record with Madrasa in the 1m6f contest at 5.10.
Pointers courtesy of Raceform Interactive