At the time of writing Kelso were not optimistic that the track would pass their noon inspection on Monday and I feel it sensible to look elsewhere for a preview of today’s racing.
Heavy ground forecast at Down Royal where I hope to see Decimation (1.20) end a frustrating run pf seconds in the opening Maiden Hurdle. Henry De Bromhead’s six-year-old has finished runner up in all three starts but he lost little in defeat at Leopardstown last time when he had the third 8L back in a race that is historically a decent contest. The gelding has the scope to jump a fence in time, but he is fitted with a first-time tongue-tie this afternoon in his bid to end his run of seconditis. There was Evens available Monday but he is a shade of odds on at 10/11 with Boylesports at the time of posting.
Alice O’Brien (1.50) is 7lbs better off – including jockey’s allowances – with Moonlight Glory for the half-length she was behind that rival at Limerick over the Festive period and I hope to see her reverse the form in the Mares Handicap Hurdle. Moonlight Glory is chasing her hat-trick and is clearly going the right way, but I hope to see young conditional Hugh Morgan make plenty of use of his mare who is having just her fifth start under rules. The selection is 10/3 wit Unibet.
In the 3m Handicap Chase I would like to see Askann (3.50) get her reward for a series of consistent efforts including when staying on into third over 2m 5f at Leopardstown at Christmas. The mare jumped out to her right on occasions last time and the return to 3m and a right-hand track should see her in a better light this afternoon. The each way recommendation is 7/1 with 10bet who are betting 1/4 odds first four.
There is a competitive twilight card from Wolverhampton, and I am loath to desert My Girl Maggie who has done us a couple of favours in recent weeks but is climbing the handicap and may struggle to give 6lbs to another filly Horn Of Plenty (4.10) who has had no luck in running in her last couple of starts but returns to the scene of her sole career win. A daughter of Arc winner Golden Horn the selection – 10/3 from 4s with BetVictor – can be a bit keen in her races, but My Girl Maggie is dropping back in trip and is likely to ensure a decent test under Richard Kingscote.
I am looking forward to the racecourse debut of Charlie Appleby’s beautifully bred filly New Exceed in the Fillies’ Novice contest and expect her to go very close for a yard who won the corresponding race 12 months ago. This extended 9f trip looks an ideal starting point for the daughter of New Approach who is out of a listed winner, but it should be noted her full brother Eternal Prince has pulled up few trees in his three starts to date and she is overlooked although the market should provide us with valuable clues as to stable expectations.
Benoit De La Sayette is excellent value for his 7lbs claim – three winners from his last six rides – and he takes the mount on Aureum (4.40) for John Gosden. The filly went off 5/4 market leader for her racecourse debut at Kempton back in June but was slowly away, green as grass and beaten nearly 10L. She was again slowly away when beaten 3L behind a stablemate over 1m 3f last month and I hope to see her break on terms this afternoon. If she does, she must have every chance. She is 3/1 with William Hill.