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This weekend in Ireland is inclined to pass me by as I usually decamp to Cheltenham for the November Meeting. It’s tricky to keep abreast of events back home while waiting an hour to get served at the bar. Unfortunately, Cork is waterlogged.
‘Marshmallow’ as christened by some wag on Twitter, that tickled me. Have to take our pleasures where we can these days. It’s no joke of course and that Cork card is usually one to savour. The meeting in Punchestown can stand-alone mind you.
The ground is currently heavy and will stay that way and I’m pleased in a way. The 15 millimetres of rain in Navan last week wasn’t forecast by the outfit I rely on. I’m in a delicate way. Shocks like that can’t be doing any good and like last week, I’m struggling to get away from the short priced favs. Both latest Exhibition (12:35), and Fury Road (1:40 pm) should prove a class apart. A couple for the multis perhaps.
The Morgiana Hurdle is the feature race. Saint Roi would have his hands full if the real Abacadabras showed up. That’s a big enough if for me to adopt a watching brief. Hopefully, we can find some of the bigger priced winners.
A handicap chase kicks off the card at 12.05 and it’s not a race overflowing with obviously well-handicapped horses. Dream Conti and A Great View could be, but both are opposable all the same and I will go with one of the class angles. MYTH BUSTER kept some illustrious company as a novice. Getting within 5 lengths of Easy Game was the highlight. He failed to win a race last term.
His final start of the campaign presented a golden opportunity and he could only manage a close second. That’s decent form though. The winner had back class, while the third and fourth have advertised the form since. It certainly suggested that a mark of 137 is exploitable.
Myth Buster’s jumping can still be clumsy and he hasn’t perfected the skill of shortening at his fences. He’s with the right man to iron that deficiency out though. There aren’t many obvious front runners on show here and Myth Buster likes to get on with things. Hopefully, he can go pillar to post.
The mares hurdle at 13:05 looks interesting. Gordon Elliot’s race planner should be on good terms with himself. Black Tears is the highest-rated horse in the race, but gets weight from all of her opponents. She’s greatly respected, but ideally might prefer a bit further. The same could be said of both Elimay and Magic Of Light. I also don’t trust Builmeupbuttercup.
That leaves DAYLIGHT KATIE and this lightly raced sort rates the selection. She accounted for Jeremys Flame when last seen – that’s strong form. She overcame a bad blunder that day too, although the fact that she hasn’t been seen since this time last year is a concern. I’m very hopeful she’ll be fit enough to do herself justice all the same. She’s normally a slick jumper and she may just have a bit too much speed at the business end here.
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I’ll take a chance on FIGHTER ALLEN in the maiden hurdle at 14:50. He’s a half brother to Envoi Allen. Fighter is unlikely to emulate his illustrious sibling, but he has similar physical prowess. He caught my eye in the parade ring when pitched into graded company on his sole start for Gordon Elliot last term.
He was ultimately well beaten, but that run had promise. He hurdled well until a tired jump at the last and he also travelled notably well for a long way that day. Sunday’s assignment represents a drop in grade and he has also had more time to grow into his considerable frame.
He has since left the Elliot yard. Given he now runs for Willie Mullins, I’m not going to worry about that because this horse should be going places. Hopefully, the Punchestown winners enclosure is one of them.
The handicap hurdle at 15:25 looks fairly weak and MR EVEREST can make class tell. His last two runs have been in a classy Listowel handicap hurdle, and the Cesarawitch. He ran well on both occasions and he didn’t enjoy much luck in Listowel either.
This race represents a huge drop in grade. He remains relatively unexposed over hurdles, and has winning form on heavy ground. The lack of pace in this race is the only concern. Hopefully, Adam Short will be wise to this, and ensure we don’t get a dawdle. If so, Mr Everest should tower above his opponents.
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- Cheltenham tips: Paul Jacobs’ best bets for the November meeting
- Horse Racing tips: Frank Hickey’s Thinking about 14/1 shot at Cheltenham on Sunday