Normal service at this time of year would see horses, trainers and jockeys complete their final preparations for Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
But as the coronavirus pandemic continues on a global scale, sport has taken a back seat and many events have been cancelled.
Irish racing is taking place behind closed doors following a successful trial, with a maximum of one meeting a day.
Saturday’s card at Thurles led to a 192 per cent increase in betting volume in the win markets on the Betfair Exchange, with more than £8 million placed on the seven races.
Betfair spokesman Barry Orr said the racing ‘offered a thread of normality’ at this time, while other bookmakers were pleased by their figures.
Here are five horses that may pay their way for the week ahead:
Bachasson – Download The BoyleSports App Chase, Clonmel, Tuesday (4.00pm)
Bids to give Willie Mullins his third consecutive victory in the feature race of the day.
He returns to fences for the first time since falling in the early stages of the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The nine-year-old ran very well over hurdles at the meeting less than two weeks ago when sixth in the Coral Cup.
Lightly-raced for his age, this looks a good opportunity for him to return to winning ways.
Kilcruit – Virtual Racing On The BoyleSports App Flat Race, Clonmel, Tuesday (5.00pm)
Market clues are vital in these types of races and this son of Stowaway has opened up a strong favourite for tomorrow’s closing bumper for the Mullins family.
A full brother to a hurdles winner, with a couple of bumper winners on the dam’s side, he is likely to know his job on debut.
The yard is one from seven in this sphere in the last 12 months and the Maureen Mullins homebred can become number two.
Lequinto – Dundalk Stadium Handicap, Dundalk, Wednesday (2.00pm)
Won with plenty in hand at the track just a few days ago.
Travelled well there and steps back a furlong if making a quick return.
Well-backed to score over six furlongs, the three-year-old was continuing his improvement and a similar performance will make it a double.
Mt Leinster -Racing Home For Easter Festival Hurdle, Cork, Thursday (2.30pm)
With several stablemates taking up alternative engagements, it may be this two-mile contest for the useful novice.
Has form behind Asterion Forlonge and Easywork which looks good here and he’s up there with the best of these on ratings.
Off just over a month’s break, he could be tough to beat.
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