Seabass to have hurdles start but Mark looks best

Tue, Feb 5, 2013, 00:00

RACING:Last year’s gallant Aintree National third Seabass returns to action for just his second ever start over hurdles in what looks an intriguing opening race at Fairyhouse today.

Future big race hints won’t be confined to Seabass and a return to Liverpool as Dermot Weld’s high-class flat racer Rock Critic also has a second outing over flights and Willie Mullins pitches in Make Your Mark who can trump the pair of them.

Make Your Mark hasn’t been seen since finishing seventh to Simonsig in the Neptune at Cheltenham last March and prior to that was a fine third to his stable companion Boston Bob in a Grade Two.

He remains an entry in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and although absent for 11 months, the Mullins team will surely have him sharp enough for this.

Rock Critic won his sole start over hurdles to date at Galway during the summer and still holds a Supreme entry at Cheltenham. He remains a 100 plus rated operator on the flat but will hardly relish these very testing conditions.

As for Seabass it is nearly six years since his only previous hurdles start and this will surely be a tune-up for a return to fences. “The distance is obviously a bit short, but it’s a nice race to start him off in and we’ll see what happens,” his trainer Ted Walsh said yesterday. “He’s as forward as you’d want him for his first run.”

Quartetto returns to hurdling after two runs over fences for Tom Taaffe last month, the second of which saw him beaten just a head by Competitive Edge at Leopardstown.

He runs today in the two-mile handicap off a significantly lower rating and should be hard to beat.

Romanesco also reverts back from chasing and sports Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown colours for the first time in the novice handicap having chased home Colbert Station in the Paddy Power Chase over Christmas.

Gordon Elliott’s runner looks better over fences but still should have too much for this opposition at his best.

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