A farewell to the flat at Naas tomorrow. Farewell to long, languid summer evenings. Farewell to linen trousers, short sleeves, ice cream, warmth and light. Not all bad of course. The beauty of this game is the two codes. We get to celebrate the diversity of seasons. I’m ready for some NH action. Be a happy boy when the Guineas trials come back of course. Paddy are sponsoring tomorrow’s Cork card. The decent thing would be to have a bet with them. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one. The going will be testing at both venues.
Donnacha O’Brien will be crowned champion jockey tomorrow. There must be a strong chance this will be his last hurrah. He will be missed. The training ranks beckon. It’s not all bad. His already irreverent sense of humour is likely to blossom with the ingestion of substances other than bread and water.
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He will probably sign off with at least one winner. Gentile Bellini (2.35 pm) looks to have strong claims. He hasn’t run since April. We can assume physical issues. It’s also reasonable to infer that, this late in the game, they will have him fairly straight for his comeback. That April run in Cork was a winning seasonal debut. The form worked out well and a mark of 88 looks on the lenient side. That’s before we factor in his illustrious parentage. Against mostly exposed opposition he can make class tell here.
The November Handicap (3.10 pm) features both the Cesarawitch and Irish Cesarawitch winners. Those stars of a memorable weekend for Willie Mullins are respected. The handicapper has had his way with both though. For the sake of my selection, it’s to be hoped he has gone far enough. Mr Everest was the subject of a substantial gamble in the Cesarawitch. Supporters must have been on good terms with themselves for most of the race. He travelled notably well but ultimately the petrol gauge ran dry. He still finished an honourable fifth. The half a mile drop in trip tomorrow could be just the ticket. He gets to race off a slightly reduced mark too. Those who thought him well handicapped could well be proven right.
A bit of stakes race action in the Finale Stakes (3.45 pm). Riven Light sets the standard. His suspect stamina will be sorely tested. Solage and Warnaq fought out a close course and distance finish a couple of weeks ago. Warnaq is five pounds better off at the weights tomorrow. That should be enough to tip the balance. Also this will be Warnaq’s fourth run back off her summer break. A peak effort is highly probable. The forecast rain only enhances her chance.
Finally, I’ll take a flyer in the last (4.20 pm). Weather Alert hasn’t had a chance to show his best. The saddle slipped on penultimate start, and his latest Gowran effort was compromised by inexperience. He was a bit keen early, and was carried wide on the first bend. The jockey concentrated on getting him settled. He hung up the home straight but ran on in a taking manner. He should show considerable improverment for that experience. His dam is very well related, and has already produced a smart sort. That Gowran run isn’t miles off the required standard in what looks a weak maiden. He was 100/1 that day. The market could easily overlook him again tomorrow.