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CHORUS IN TUNE; IRISH LET THE FESTIVAL BEGIN.

Byline: RONAN GROOME

THE Tramore August Festival should finally get going today pending an inspection this morning.

The most valuable race on the card is the mare's handicap hurdle and Edmond Kent's HEAVENLY CHORUS should go very close.

The daughter of Key Of Luck ran a cracker behind Shadow Eile in a competitive mares handicap hurdle at Galway and providing she handles the deep underfoot conditions here, she should win.

In the beginners chase, AINM SPARTACUS is an interesting alternative to the Willie Mullins-trained BUNDLE OF FUN, who is likely to go off at a short price.

Kieran Purcell's gelding ran really well to finish third to Gimli's Rock at Limerick on his penultimate run and is worth chancing now back over this shorter trip again, with proven form on heavy ground in the book.

RATTAN will be a very short price to take the second race on the card, so it may be worth holding fire until the following event, where Seamus Fahey's GOLD TANTRUM is an interesting runner.

The son of Gold Well ran well on his previous run at Sligo and can hold off the challenge of GIVE US A HAND here.

All going well, Sunday's card at Tramore should also get the green light. The feature event is the Richard Power-sponsored two-mile handicap hurdle where Philip Rothwell's PADDY O'DEE should top the market.

However, recent Ballinrobe winner Miradane could give the favourite a lot to do.

Mouse Morris's horse handled the heavy conditions well last time and can prevail here at a better price.

Later on the card Barry Geraghty is reunited with FAIR DILEMMA in the two-mile handicap chase. James Mangan's gelding showed enough on his previous run to suggest he was worth following next time and is preferred over Robert Tyner's INSTANT IMPACKED, who might struggle on the testing ground.

Meanwhile, Niall McCullagh is travelling to Newbury today more than hopeful that ALANZA can run a big race in the Group Two Hungerford Stakes.

The Kildare-based jockey has a couple of big weeks ahead of him with the Aga Khan's retained jockey Johnny Murtagh being forced to sit on the sidelines following a facial injury picked up at the Curragh last weekend.

McCullagh, who has been riding extremely well this season, will be brought in by John Oxx for a number of high profile rides starting with Alanza in the feature event at Newbury today.

"She's quite a smart filly on her day," said McCullagh "She beat Sir Henry Cecil's filly Chachamaidee at Doncaster last year and that is really good form.

"She's certainly not going without a chance."

Oxx is a man to follow closely when he sends a horse across the Irish Sea.

The Currabeg trainer has a 31 per cent strike rate with his runners in Britain over the past five seasons.

Alanza was one of those runners when she disappointed in the Group One Falmouth Stakes on her previous run, but McCullagh feels the daughter of Dubai Destination is a different filly on her preferred fast ground.

"That's the main reason she has to come to England, to get the quicker ground," said the Kildarebased jockey "She just can't act on soft ground so hopefully the rain will stay away from Newbury."

Alanza is a 10/1 shot and will face stiff opposition from Richard Hannon's STRONG SUIT and Godolphin runner SOUL.

CAPTION(S):

IN FINE FORM Heavenly Chorus ran a cracking race at Galway recently s
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 18, 2012
Words:577
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