Gowran Park is the set to play host to a cracking card on Saturday, with the Red Mills (Grade 2) Chase and Red Mills (Grade 3) Hurdle the feature races on the day. Jessica Harrington’s stable star Jezki will contest the hurdle as he continues his comeback from a long layoff. A winner over 2 miles on his return at Navan last month, the former Champion Hurdler is sure to be popular with the punters as he gears up for a trip to Cheltenham in a few weeks’ time. Previous winners of this 2 mile contest include Cheltenham Festival heroes; Un De Sceaux, Dunguib, Solwhit, Newmill and Hardy Eustace.
This race is probably the last real trial race over the smaller obstacles before the festival begins and all eyes will be on Jezki but there are others who will line up in the race with lively chances. The Gordon Elliott trained Tombstone who finished third to Jezki in Navan last month takes his chance and will have come on for the run. Beaten just over 12 lengths in the Supreme Novices Hurdle last March when behind superstar Altior, he will be primed for a big run here against rivals such as Jezki and the Colin Kidd trained Rashaan who lowered the colours of Apple’s Jade and Irish Champion Hurdle winner Petit Mouchoir at Down Royal in November. A win on the all-weather at Dundalk last Friday night should put the 5 year old spot on for this race.
Before the feature hurdle is run, the Red Mills Chase will be decided. Run over 2 ½ miles, the race is used as a stepping stone to better things as the winner usually goes on to contest some top races at the major Spring festivals. The Willie Mullins’ trained Ballycasey won over course in distance in October when landing the PWC Champion Chase. The grey hasn’t run since finishing 3rd in the Fortria Chase in Navan in November and although not always reliable, he has to be feared here. The JJ Mangan trained Montys Meadow was well fancied to land the Thyestes Chase at this venue at the end of January but disappointed on the day, stepping back down in trip he will come into the reckoning if returning to his best. Prior to the Thyestes he had been showing some good form in some decent races so he cannot be discounted here. The Mouse Morris trained Mozoltov is without a win to his name in almost three years. A faller last time out in December, he will find the going tough against horses with much better recent form figures.
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