A blank Sunday in Ireland had the potential to leave me twiddling my thumbs.
Not a bit of it. The ‘can-do’ spirit they infuse the water with in Power Tower sees me tackle the Monday double header.
There is a flat card in Roscommon, but the going will have a distinctly National Hunt feel to it though at the track. Perhaps it’s the heavy ground, or the autumnal nip in the air that has got me thinking about the jumps.
Whatever the reason, I have also dug out a selection in Downpatrick – just the one granted.
Off to Downpatrick we go, and PAPAL LODGE looks worthy of support in the maiden hurdle. I was impressed with him last time out in Tipperary.
Ultimately, he was beaten 23 lengths, but he did have the misfortune of running into Finest Evermore.
She looks a very promising mare, but Papal Lodge was the only horse to keep tabs on her that day. He cried enough at the second last, but I reckon time will tell that he did well to hang in that long.
He jumped well for a hurdling debutante and he had previously shown a willing attitude when winning his bumper.
He’s not going to be a big price here. I’d make him favourite, but the market seems to have a gra for the Charles Byrnes horse Kendancer. There are a couple of other credible contenders. Papal Lodge is my selection though, and I’ll be backing him.
The second selection comes in a competitive 7-furlong handicap at Roscommon. Autumn Mist may have had a few issues and this four-year-old will race for just the eight time here.
She finished off last season with a couple of promising efforts in handicaps and the Galway race she finished sixth in worked out particularly well. Her belated seasonal comeback came in Killarney last week, where she ran well. Probably better than it looked too.
The finish was dominated by horses who raced up with the pace, but Autumn Mist came from the back.
One would expect a measure of improvement for that run, but the drop in trip isn’t obvious, and is a worry.
Pimstrel should ensure an honest gallop though, and conditions will be extremely testing. I also reckon, as an unexposed sort, Autumn Mist is well handicapped, so, hopefully, her climb up the ladder can start on Monday.
CANFORD LIGHT is another horse who looks potentially well handicapped, and he has proven a slow learner. He’s inclined to run a little freely, and has hung badly under pressure.
That is not ideal but he’s only had five starts, and his latest effort in Cork was most encouraging. He missed the break but travelled sweetly in behind.
Colin Keane was probably at pains to get him settled. He managed that, and the horse showed a good attitude to finish a running on fifth. The second that day has disappointed since, but subsequent efforts from the third and fourth give the form a solid look.
I’m pleasantly surprised the handicapper dropped his rating and he step up in trip here looks a positive.
The testing ground is probably ideal for him too. I always watch out for Tom Mullins trained horses on heavy going. No matter how deep it gets his horses probably feel like they’re in a holiday camp compared to the famously taxing gallop they work on at home.
Colin Keane retains the ride, and I fancy his educational ride in Cork will bear rich fruit here.
Sacchoandvanzetti is very hard to get away from in the last and the only concern is he hasn’t run since March. Encouragingly, his best run of the 2019 flat season came on seasonal bow.
That March run came in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham and he was ultimately well beaten, but is in much calmer waters here. He won two of his five hurdle starts and is likely to be improving. He went close in handicaps off marks in the low 70’s last season and he looks well treated off 69 here.
Those narrow defeats came over 7 furlongs, and a mile. His pedigree, and subsequent efforts over the sticks, suggest this extended 11 furlongs will see him to better effect. Young Dylan McMonagle takes off a handy 7 pounds too. There is just so much to like about this horse here.
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