Ulster National Day at Downpatrick – Alan Marron previews

Alan Marron has been in red hot form with his tips for BarOneRacing.com this season.



We start the day with a tricky enough looking maiden hurdle where much of the form seems to tie in together. BARNAVIDDAUN looks the most interesting runner for me on the back of a very promising second behind Arcadian Sunrise at Leopardstown last time out. The front two were 23 lengths clear of the third and if he can improve off the back of that he looks the one to beat. This horse normally seems to be well punted and I would suggest watching the market. If he can get his own way in front or very close to the pace then it will take a good performance from one of the opposition to get past him.


Charles Byrnes has a very promising runner here in WAJAAHA and the market could be very interesting. Following his win last time out the trainer said that the horse was quite temperamental and likes things to go his way in front. He was backed as if defeat was out of the question and duly obliged. The trainer also commented that he would likely continue in handicaps so I am very interested as this horse takes a slight step up in grade. I think there is plenty more improvement to come and the weights seem to favour him. If he can travel as nicely as he did the last day he could arrive on the bridle again and make it look very easy.


Jonathon Moore and Gavin Cromwell have linked up very well this season and have a decent chance of another winner here with the very aptly named BREAD AND BUTTER. He ran a highly encouraging race when second to Lady McCabe at Gowran Park last time out. He was put to sleep at the back of the field and crept his way into it and came with a strong run going to two out. He got slightly outstayed in my eyes so the drop back from 2m4f to 2m2f should be ideal. This is the sort of track that if you travel well you can arrive there hard on the steel and take plenty of beating. There is no doubt for me that Gavin Cromwell will get this horse in the winners enclosure soon and he is one to keep a close eye on in this race.


The feature of the day and one runner really stands out to me here. ITS ALL GUESSWORK trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by Philip Reynolds looks to have been lined up for this race having had two prep runs over hurdles in recent months. The last time we seen this horse over the larger obstacles he was down the field in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival 2019. He is very lightly raced over fences and while his profile isn’t as strong as some of the others in the race he could be the type to improve off the prep runs and be as totally different proposition here. He was a good third behind Cap York at Punchestown in February 2019 and that piece of form would make him one of the leading contenders here. The market has spoke in his favour over the last 48 hours and he is one to keep on the right side of. Looks very unexposed to me.


SOLAR HEAT looks to have a very strong chance here after two runs over fences in very hot company. She ran in the Webster Cup at Navan last time out behind Castlegrace Paddy and she was well beaten. This looks like a bit of a plot to me as she is back with Dot Love after being trained by Denis Hogan for a number of months. She picked up a nice pot in Fairyhouse back in November and looks nicely handicapped over fences on the back of that piece of form. She is rated 101 so that leaves her 9lb higher than the win at Fairyhouse. She is very lightly raced over the larger obstacles so she is one to watch in the market and looks to have a solid each way chance in a competitive renewal.


ON THE SOD comes into this race unbeaten between the flags and looks the one to side with here. He was very impressive last time out at Farmaclaffey where he won easily after quickening nicely to put the race to bed. I like the fact that the time before that at Kirkistown he got up on the line to win so that shows he has battling qualities. We have seen plenty of stars win at Kirkistown and not saying this fella is a star but it will take something special to beat him if he can improve from his point to points. He looks a useful individual and I would put him in my tracker and see what he can do throughout his career.


Ballyadam will be very short here and needs to win to live up to the big reputation that has followed him. The track could be his downfall and therefore the Henry De Bromhead trained YOUSAYITBEST looks the alternative value in a race that looks a two horse war. This horse was very impressive in a Moig P2P beating Gabynako by two lengths. One of the most interesting facts from that is that Gabynako was punted off the boards in his bumper from 13/2 to 7/4 and failed to oblige at Fairyhouse back on New Years Day. If the Point to Point brigade think that Gabynako was good then Ballyadam could have something to worry about here with Yousayitbest. Henry and Patrick Mullins recently teamed up for an impressive bumper winner and this could be another one. This horse cost 220k after winning his point to point and he could be one name that we hear plenty about over the next season or two.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article