McGuinness struggling to split Irish Lincolnshire hopes with trio of contenders
Paddy Power Irish Lincolnshire (Premier Handicap) | 1m | 4yo+ | RTE/RTV
Run at Naas the past three seasons, where Ger Lyons was twice successful, this ultra-competitive handicap returns to the Curragh where plenty of reliable performers will belatedly get their seasons underway.
If Lyons is to add to his good recent record in the race he will need a little bit of luck as Kafu, the trainer's sole runner, is the first reserve.
Joseph O'Brien is in a similar situation. His Patrick Sarsfield, an impressive winner of his maiden at the track last October, would be prominent in the betting should he get a run, and any rain would not hinder his chances.
Of those who are guaranteed their place in the line-up, the obvious starting point is Ado McGuinness's trio of Current Option, Bowerman and Saltonstall.
When asked to nominate which one he preferred, McGuinness, who won this race in 2005 with Victrim, put forward Bowerman.
That could be significant, but should the rain get into the ground by the time this race is run, Saltonstall would need to be taken seriously.
Jessica Harrington is also triple-handed, with Onlyhuman, Tauran Shaman and Njord making up what looks a strong challenge while Dermot Weld, without a winner this year, could have a major say with the unexposed Bashiyr, ridden by champion apprentice Andy Slattery.
What they say
Jessica Harrington, trainer of Onlyhuman, Tauran Shaman and Njord
Onlyhuman and Njord were all ready to go when they were originally due to run the Lincoln, they are good, solid handicappers. Tauran Shaman is very lightly raced, he's only had three runs in his life, and maybe he could be well handicapped.
Ado McGuinness, trainer of Bowerman, Saltonstall and Current Option
Current Option had a little bit of a setback after Leopardstown last year but he's back in cracking form. I'm a little bit concerned that he pulled hard in his races last year and he'll have to settle to get the mile. Bowerman would probably be my pick of the three. He's six pounds lower on grass than he is on the all-weather and he had a cracking run in France back in February. There's very little between the two of them at home. I can't see the ground getting too soft but if we had plenty of rain that would suit Saltonstall best. He'd prefer a little more juice but, having said that, he ran a cracker on good-to-firm ground here on Irish Champions Weekend.
Joe Murphy, trainer of Insignia Of Rank
We think he's in good form. We were disappointed with him in the Lincoln last year but as the year went on he seemed to progress. I think everyone is in the same boat this year with their horses. He has his chance.
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