As with last Sunday, there’s something for everyone this week with flat action in Naas, and hedge hopping in Cork. Those of us who celebrate the diversity in our great game should be in clover.
The weather seems fairly settled with limited drying at this time of the year of course. Naas is currently soft, and Cork good. I imagine they will probably be the going descriptions come flag fall.
In truth, neither card makes great appeal, but winners always appeal mind you. Here are four selections that will hopefully have their picture taken.
Off to Cork we go and WALK ME HOME is a fascinating mare, but her pedigree is something of a mystery. How her dam was ever covered by Galileo is surely a story in itself. The equine equivalent of Brad Pitt taking the ‘Rose Of Tralee’ to the Oscars.
Unsurprisingly, Walk Me Home hasn’t burnished her sire’s legacy and she should be capable of winning this low grade hurdle at though. Her Wexford win, on penultimate start, reads particularly well. Rudy Catrail, the second that day, has rattled up three subsequent wins.
Walk Me Home was made favourite to follow up in Kilbeggan, she hurdled well early on but seemed to forget how to jump around the halfway mark. One mistake led to another, and she was ultimately pulled up.
I’m inclined to forgive a bad run at that idiosyncratic track. Gavin Cromwell has done well with this family, and this mare remains unexposed. Hopefully, she can get her career back on track this Sunday.
The most valuable race of the weekend in the Foran Equine Final and this time last year I had a meaty wager on the horse who finished second in this race. A short head was the official winning margin.
Curiously enough though, I now remember the announcement of the photo with some affection. At least I was there to hear it. The Stockholm Syndrome a race fan faces in these unprecedented times.
Snapraeterea will start favourite and rightly so. He has the highest rating, has proven consistent, and will enjoy the testing ground. He is limited though. With Paddy offering an extra place, I will take him on with BELLE IMAGE.
This filly has already rewarded connections when finishing third in a valuable sales race on Irish Champions Weekend, that reads like strong form. She backed that up when dominating lesser opposition last time out and she probably needs to find about 10lbs to win here. That doesn’t seem impossible for an improving filly, stepping up in trip on just her fourth career start. I will be most disappointed if she finishes out of the first four.
The best bet of the day comes in this 10-furlong handicap, where handicapper looks to have taken a real chance with EBONY MAW. This horse beat a very solid yardstick last time out and that run was a big step up on anything Ebony Maw had previously achieved.
The potential for further improvement doesn’t appear to have been factored into his rating. He still carried his head a bit high that day, but it would be churlish to crab his attitude. Navan isn’t a track where the faint hearted prevail. Rather, I see it as a sign that the horse is still learning.
To further cement this opinion, he seemed to look around a bit when hitting the front. I expect him to improve again on Sunday. Title chasing Colin Keane is riding like a man possessed. If the Ebony doesn’t win on Sunday, neither will I.
This is the feature at Cork, and it will be interesting to see how Timoteo goes in the betting. He definitely looks well handicapped on his first start for Gordon Elliot. He has never looked a warrior of the turf to me though.
LAKEMILAN and Articulum filled the first two places in last year’s renewal of this race. I will take them to fight it out again. Lakemilan is 9lbs higher this time around, but remains unexposed in this discipline.
It is something of a surprise that this will be her first try over fences since last year’s heroics. Her local trainer is likely to have her cherry ripe for this assignment. That may well prove good enough.
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