A couple of good winners both returned at 3/1 at Thurles on Saturday but Light Brigade was the one that got away in the concluding Bumper. I once studied the Crimean War and and am convinced Lords Cardigan and Raglan would be turning in their respective graves with the ride given to Light Brigade although he did have horses to the right of him and horses to the left of him when he initially made his move having hit 500/1 in running.
A fine day is forecast at Downpatrick for Sunday’s Ulster Grand National, but the ground was described as soft (heavy in places) on Saturday morning and conditions look sure to remain testing.
History might show that All About Joe (1.40) faced an impossible task against Henry De Bromhead’s Eklat De Rire at Thurles last time out over a trip just shy of three miles. The drop back in distance to an extended two-and-a-quarter miles is obviously a concern, although I expect to see his conditional jockey make more use of Colm Murphy’s five-year-old who is 2/1 with 10bet.
I will also be keeping an eye on the market in relation to Noel Meade’s Henry Brown who disappointed on his hurdles debut at Gowran in January at a time when the stable was, largely, out of sorts. The yard has bounced back to form in recent weeks and the 5-y-old did win a Fairyhouse Bumper on debut back in the autumn.
The Very Man (2.10) has won a point-to-point, Bumper and now a novice hurdle having landed the odds at Naas last time from a decent yardstick. The selection – 2/1 at William Hill will be novice chasing soon but he improved for the step up to today’s trip last time and is taken to follow up for Gordon Elliot and Davy Russell. Do note that today’s race is for horses rated 0-120 – yet the lowest rated horse in the race has a mark of 124 given the race is also open to horses rated 121-130. Why not just call it a race for horses rated 0-130?
If you take jockey’s allowances into consideration, then Cheb De Kerviniou (3.10) is 8lbs better off with Ifyoucatchmenow on Punchestown form last month and the selection has since run a cracker when runner up in the Leinster National at Naas earlier in the month. Gordon Elliot, who saddles six of the 15-runner field, fitted the 10-y-old with a tongue-tie for the first time at Naas and the aid is applied again this afternoon.
Yes, the French import is slowly creeping up the weights but has not been out of the first four since joining his new yard and he deserves to get his head in front. At 11/2 – ew 4 places – with William Hill – I expect a bold bid.
Heydour was a horse I have been waiting to run for some time in a handicap chase in Britain on good ground for Mick Channon and I was surprised to see he had moved to Ireland for a Hunter Chase campaign. I don’t know what he achieved in winning a Maiden point on heavy ground at Cragmore last month but only two of the six starters finished. He needed good ground to be seen at his best in Britain.
Complete Sizing finished second in a recent point having previously fallen at halfway under Jamie Codd. The eight-year-old won his first four points but disappointed over today’s C&D although he was later found to have finished lame.
On The Sod (4.10) is unbeaten in three starts between the flags and got up close home to beat Samurai Cracker in the second of those. That is decent form given the latter was in the process of giving Billaway a race at Naas in January when coming down at the last. He wouldn’t have beaten the winner, but that form has been well and truly franked in the interim period – Billaway finished second in the Cheltenham Foxhunters’ last week and the runner up – Staker Wallace – finished fourth. The 2/1 with Boylesports is fair.
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