Listowel’s Harvest Festival kicks off on Sunday. Ireland has enjoyed something of an Indian summer over the last couple of weeks. I have enjoyed some bonus sea swimming.
The horses in Listowel will likely be grateful that they aren’t asked to swim this year. The ground can get extremely testing down there.
Instead they will race on watered ground. The going is currently good and should stay that way for the week. Here are a few selections that can hopefully get us off to a profitable start at the meeting.
Is She Diesel is asked to concede weight to some unexposed mares in the 14:10 race. The market may underestimate her potential to pull off that feat.
She’s not fully exposed herself. This 8 year old has only had 13 career starts. That’s mainly due to a three year injury hiatus. She has been building towards a peak effort since her comeback in June. Her latest effort at Ballinrobe was most encouraging.
She looked set to play a big hand in the finish before folding late on. Two miles and six furlongs on soft ground may have taxed her stamina.
A drop in trip and better ground here looks just the ticket. She looked a mare going places when chasing home Swamp Fox in the summer of 2017. On just her third start for Denis Hogan, she looks worth chancing to regain that progressive thread.
Cailean’s Angel can defy a rise in grade in the mares handicap at 14:45. She’s six pounds higher than when winning over hurdles on penultimate start in Cork.
She was subsequently made favourite to win a handicap chase off what appeared a favourable mark. Unfortunately she ran into the very well treated Crazywork De Vassy.
He, and also the second and third that day, have advertised the form since. Being beaten 24 lengths wasn’t a bad effort in the circumstances.
Also that race was run on soft. The Angel’s best efforts have come on top of the ground. She gets her preferred conditions on Sunday, and can go close.
16:15 Anything Will Do
The novice chase at 16:15 looks a competitive affair. It’s possible to make a solid case for five of the six runners. I imagine Popong will shade favouritism.
She looks well treated by race conditions but may not be in love with the game. That charge can’t be levelled against Anything Will Do.
This tenacious sort may be slightly overlooked in the market. The drop in trip and quicker ground do look like negatives but I’m more than hopeful he can overcome them.
He jumped really well when winning on chasing debut in Killarney. His jockey was generally happy to pop around but the horse showed plenty of scope when asked to go long at his fences.
You could argue that Line Out, and Ballymacaw have boosted the form since. I’m inclined towards the belief that they ran below par in Killarney, though.
J J Slevin will be mindful of making full use of the horse’s stamina on Sunday. With two other pace angles in the race, I’m expecting a strong gallop. That pace, combined with accurate jumping, could be enough to see Anything Will Do cope with the drop down in distance.
The feature is a conditions chase run at 16:50. It’s a strong heat. The Storyteller won a similar race at the Galway Festival. He’s well treated by race conditions here, and should start favourite. Peregrine Run will provide stern opposition. I’ll take them both on with Paloma Blue.
I was very impressed, and pleasantly surprised, by his jumping when winning last time out in Wexford. His chasing career has spluttered a bit. Generally due to making mistakes at the obstacles.
He was a little bit on and off the bridle in Wexford. The fitting of cheekpieces looks a wise move. The extra four furlongs should prove a positive too.
Big things were expected of Paloma Blue when he began his chasing career. It’s not too late for him to get close to those lofty ambitions. With another clean round of jumping, he can start here.
Brendan Duke’s picks for Listowel on Sunday
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