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Alpine Eagle can make up for missing Galway.

ALPINE EAGLE, one of a number of Jessica Harrington-trained horses who were in contention for a tilt at the Guinness Galway Hurdle off a light weight, has prospects of earning some funds provided by the same sponsor at a lower level of competition in the featured handicap hurdle at Sligo this evening (7.15).

The Golan gelding, who went within a neck of achieving a first handicap hurdle success in a 25-runner contest at Punchestown in April, looked a possible candidate for his trainer's Galway team when beating Mount Helicon in a conditions race on the Flat at Killarney in the middle of last month.

As it transpired, he did not take part at the meeting, but the form received a significant boost when Mount Helicon put in a spirited display when second to Admiral Barry in the big amateur handicap at Ballybrit.

With any luck, Alpine Eagle's chance will be further boosted when Mount Helicon contests the opening maiden hurdle at 5.35.

A former useful performer on the Flat in France, the son of Montjeu was having his first run for Tom Hogan in the Killarney race, having come from Alan King's yard.

His credentials from the Flat are sound, but he was a beaten favourite four times from five starts over hurdles in Britain during his spell with King.

There are two possibilities - either he failed to acclimatise in Britain or he is one of those horses unable to translate Flat form into something similar over hurdles. One thing is sure, he has settled in well with Hogan and it is worth giving him the benefit of the doubt this evening.

Galway kingpins Dermot Weld and Robbie McNamara will combine to supply the main threat to the selection with New Rules, a JP McManus-owned newcomer to hurdles who landed the odds on his second bumper start at Listowel in June.

Profound Beauty will be a short price to enhance her fine Leopardstown record by winning the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes for the second year running, but most other races at the meeting look open.

There are plenty in with chances in the 1m2f handicap (8.10), but Flattery, a Charles O'Brien-trained filly who has finished second in successive outings in apprentice races over the course and trip, may go one better with Johnny Murtagh aboard.

Alan Sweetman's bets Mount Helicon 5.35 Sligo 1pt win Alpine Eagle 7.15 Sligo 1pt win Flattery 8.10 Leopardstown 1pt each-way
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Aug 5, 2010
Words:411
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