Most of the racing fans in this part of the world will have their eyes trained on Longchamp this weekend. Unfortunately one lady has vanished.
The absence of Love will help Enable in her quest for a third Arc. The race looks very trappy to me. I’ll watch them slog through the mud.
National Hunt aficionados will keep one eye on Tipperary. Saint Roi makes his seasonal debut. After his County hurdle romp in Cheltenham, connections could reasonably expect him to make up into a Champion Hurdle contender.
Heavy rain is forecast on Sunday. My best guess is that Tipp will ride soft, and Killarney heavy. Here are a few more guesses at both meetings.
First to Tipperary. They have attracted seven runners for the Like A Butterfly Novice Chase at 15:38. Only three of them really count. A Wave Of The Sea, as a four-year-old, gets plenty of weight. He’s bound to be popular.
Galvin will take a good chunk out of the market too. Both are inclined to make jumping errors though. I will chance Sizing Pottsie. He has to concede weight all round. If he can get back to the form of his Fairyhouse and Navan romps, I think he’s capable of doing just that.
His most recent effort in Thurles needs forgiving. He looked beaten when falling at the second last. I’m not sure what happened that day. Having jumped with aplomb on his previous starts, he made a series of mistakes. Perhaps the undulating nature of that track didn’t suit him.
I’m really not sure but it’s just one run. I take him to return to his bold jumping ways here. That can take the main opposition out of their comfort zones. The rain is welcome too. Hopefully the market attaches too much weight to his most recent run.
The handicap chase at 16:08 is a moderate contest. Welhnachts has the most upside, will welcome the rain, and looks the best handicapped horse in the race too. He was a well beaten second on his last start.
That looked a funny race. The winner is an untrustworthy sort but she was very good on the day. Encouragingly Welnachts finished in front of a reliable yardstick in Benefit Run. On his previous start Welnachts got close to another solid sort in Conright Boy.
Both those runs suggest a mark of 99 isn’t beyond the horse. His jumping is a cause for concern but Mark Walsh is masterful with this type.
That Galway run was his first for six months. He was solid in the betting though, so probably won’t come on much in terms of fitness. A repeat of that run might well prove good enough here mind you.
Off to Killarney we go. The handicap at 14:55 is highly competitive. That should mean we get a nice price about Facethepuckout. This horse has looked in the handicapper’s grip since getting a big hike for bolting up in Listowel last season.
He runs here off the same mark as when a close third in Galway three runs ago. That race worked out really well. His last run was disappointing but I expect this reliable sort to bounce back here.
He has form on heavy ground. The booking of Danny Sheehy is the cherry on top. He’s good value for his claim. His allowance could make all the difference here.
The fillies conditions race at 15:55 can safely be whittled down to three runners. Shamiyna is of some interest. Sagrada Familia has a chance but looks overrated. Princess Yaiza is the obvious one.
I will go with the obvious. She doesn’t look quite the same filly who won a group race in 2018. She won’t need to be to win here though.
Two of her last three runs would probably be good enough. Deep ground holds no terrors for this mare. She’s favoured by race conditions, and a rampant Colin Keane takes the ride.
It was encouraging to see Gavin Cromwell have a couple of recent winners. The stable had been going through a rare quiet spell. She should be favourite but I have a hunch the market will fall in love with Shamiyna. Hopefully that will give us reasonable odds of return on the Princess.
Brendan Duke’s picks for Sunday’s Irish racing
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