A mixed Flat/jumps card at Ballinrobe this evening comes under the spotlight and Timeform's Irish team have three more SmartPlays to recommend...
On both previous efforts in bumpers this year Parramatta has shaped as if soft ground has prevented her from displaying her true ability...
The 16-runner one-mile-six-furlong handicap that opens the card looks wide open at first glance, though on closer inspection the fairly useful hurdler Star of Aragon (18:00) looks worthy of support in his attempt to follow up a victory over the same trip at Wexford nine days ago. Once again with the assistance of Pat Smullen in the saddle, a 7 lb rise for that three-quarter-length winning margin does not look punitive given that he is actually on a hat-trick having won a Leopardstown handicap over timber on his previous appearance. Although last week's win was on softish ground, he did win a competitive Cheltenham race last October on good to firm, so the prevailing quicker ground this evening shouldn't be an inconvenience.
It's not often you'll find a horse selected in this column whose last two racecard entries read 'PP', but there are reasons to to believe On The Loose (20:30) could be about to break his duck over timber in the two-mile handicap hurdle. Those pulled up finishes came in heavy ground novice chases on his last two races under Rules and, although he is a three-time winner on the Flat on softish ground, including at Gowran last month, the return to the smaller obstacles, combined with tonight's better ground, could play to the gelding's (albeit modest) strengths. He has raced on ground called 'good' on five occasions over jumps, with four of his top five performances on Timeform ratings achieved in those events.
Fans of Australian Rugby League will recognise that the name Parramatta (21:00) relates to one of the top teams in that sport rather than the game this filly's sire is named after but, regardless of that, the daughter of Aussie Rules is another who looks likely to appreciate a reduced stamina test in the race that concludes the card. On both previous efforts in bumpers this year Parramatta has shaped as if soft ground has prevented her from displaying her true ability; despite that, she still has the top Timeform rating of those who have ran, so is confidently taken to get off the mark at the third time of asking.
Back Star of Aragon in the 18:00
Back On The Loose in the 20:30
Back Parramatta in the 21:00