Racing is at Ballinrobe this Sunday, a venue I have yet to attend. It looks pretty lush on the telly but is a fair schlep from Dublin.
It seems to be a well-run, and well supported track. There is some decent prize money on offer for this card, and they have been rewarded with some useful horses. I’ve dug out a couple of selections.
As mentioned last week, I’m easing my way into the National Hunt season. I’ve supplemented those selections with two others in York.
We get an extra place in York’s second race on the card and ANYTHINGTODAY will be my each-way play.
This horse has proven capable off marks in the 90’s for his two previous trainers and he started off very well for new trainer Roger Fell when placing in a couple of hot handicaps earlier this season. He then put in a series of poor efforts before bouncing back at this track last time out.
He travelled better than anything that day and he may have hit the front a bit too soon. He was probably value for second place. The only three-year-old in that race came home in front that day.
The classic generation are well represented here. That’s a concern, but this is a significant drop in grade for Anythingtoday and he can take advantage of his class edge.
The combination of some in-form horses among the opposition, and a dismal run last time out may result in HOOFLEPUFF going in a big price for the apprentice handicap at the end of the day.
It’s worth giving the horse a pass for his Beverly flop last time out, with soft ground is the main reason and a bump at the start didn’t help either. His previous run, when narrowly denied by a well backed winner, is the run I’m interested in. Granted, the winner has disappointed since but the subsequent efforts of those in behind suggest it is decent form for the grade.
A 4lb rise for the Hooflepuff wasn’t excessive and the jockey Harry Russell looks quite the polished apprentice. Hopefully back on this better ground, he can add some lustre to the Hooflepuff’s record.
This conditions chase is probably best approached as a process of elimination race. Mengli Khan is very hard to win with. Scoir Mear is inclined to need his comeback run. Livelovelaugh appears to be regressing, and Stormey shouldn’t be good enough. That leaves THOSEDAYSAREGONE.
This horse has been a touch disappointing on the flat of late, but he should be a different proposition back over obstacles. He has only had one run over fences, that was an impressive win in Limerick and he put in a polished round of jumping that day.
He was notably sure footed when getting in close to his fences. For good measure, his best jump came when meeting the last on a perfect stride and it was a little surprising that he didn’t stick to the larger obstacles.
His canny trainer Charles Byrnes may have suspected that he was well handicapped over hurdles and he was proven correct. The horse landed a touch when winning a valuable handicap in Leopardstown, before finishing third in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
That’s very strong form in the context of this race. This horse is probably already the most talented runner in the race, and has the greatest upside. He should win comfortably.
Sure footed isn’t a phrase one would choose to describe PORTMORE LOUGH. Let’s go with well handicapped instead, and hope his jumping holds up in the Mayo National.
This lightly raced sort has failed to complete the course on his last couple of starts and on both occasions he looked likely to go close. He had previously finished third, from the same mark he competes off on Sunday, in a strong renewal of the Troytown Chase.
His fall in Galway last time was particularly frustrating as he had jumped soundly all the way before forgetting to take off at the fifth last. Hopefully, he can cut out the big error here.
It’s a little surprising that Mark Walsh doesn’t take the ride, but Jody McGarvey did ride the horse in his first win over fences. The partnership can bag a follow up win here.
Paddy do dangle an extra place carrot here. I’ll be playing this horse win only all the same.
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