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Thurles hosts a decent card, including an intriguing Grade 2 novice hurdle

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris (  

Bright New Dawn bids for first Graded win

THE highlight of Thursday's racing in Britain and Ireland comes from Thurles, where Bright New Dawn, who has chased home Jezki and Champagne Fever on his last two starts in Grade 1 races, bids for a first win of his own in Graded company.

As is to be expected in an Irish Graded novice event, the three market principles, Bright New Dawn, Touch The Eden and Venture Capital, represent the powerhouse connections of Gigginstown, the Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci team and JP McManus.

Dessie Hughes trains Bright New Dawn, favourite for the Grade 2 Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle (3.55), and he said: "He's form is pretty solid. What you see is what you get with him."

Rory O'Moore is the outsider of the field, but his trainer Ronnie O'Neill is hopeful the step up in trip will see him go close. "It's his first time up in trip, which we decided to try because Andrew McNamara [jockey] thinks it will suit him," he said.

"There's no use trying to fight him so we will let him make the running as always. I couldn't see him beating Bright New Dawn and we'd be delighted with a place."

Earlier on the card the Bet On Your Mobile With Chase (2.55) has attracted a classy field, with Lambro, Mount Benbulben, Lastoftheleaders, Muirhead, Quiscover Fontaine and Treacle among the eight runners.

At Taunton Jupiter Rex (3.40pm) bids to become the latest Venetia Williams-trained handicapper to mix hurdling and chasing to rack up a five-timer.

Thunderstorm (4.10pm), also chasing a five-timer, is entered in the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival and will need to win as his current mark of 126 is unlikely to see him get into that race. Last year 132 was needed to get into the race so a 5lb penalty might not be enough for the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old.

At Ludlow the Emma Lavelle-trained Zarrafakt, who goes best when fresh, returns from 110 days off the track in the 3.30pm, while all-weather action comes from Kempton and Southwell.

At Meydan, plenty of British-trained horses are in action, where the highlight is the Group 3 UAE Oaks.

Thursday going report
Ludlow Good to Soft
Southwell Standard
Taunton Soft, Good to Soft in places on the hurdles course
Thurles Soft to Heavy

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