It’s a busy Friday of sport in the sunshine, crowds are back in sporting events, and if you can peel your eyes from the reassuring sight of beer snakes and fancy dress at the Test Match in Edgbaston – then you might just see plenty of really competitive and interesting racing from every corner of the British Isles.
It might be easier to list the races and meetings where I don’t either fancy something or have ‘tracker’ horses running, such is the nature of today. At this stage, only one has made the cut in terms of unleashing a bet, and that is Close Enough at 11/2 each-way with Boylesports in the Suir Blueway Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Clonmel at 2.25.
35 minutes earlier we will probably have seen a nice boost to her form, as the mare Aubretia, that finished just ahead of her in a Tipperary mares’ maiden hurdle runs in a similar event. That Tipperary race was won by the very classy Gypsy Island, and the second and sixth from that race have since won their next starts very easily.
It was a race run at a true tempo, but also one which was defined by a striking difficulty to make up ground on the principals. The first four home and the sixth were in a breakaway group for most of the race, whereas the eventual fifth home Close Enough, was anchored in last for the first mile of the contest, and ran a huge race to make up any kind of ground on the front group.
First evidence suggests that the handicapper has underplayed that Tipperary race, as sixth home Mama Tried has hosed up off a mark of 83 at Roscommon. So, Close Enough, in pipping Mama Tried, despite being inconvenienced by track position for much of a race, looks to have been let in lightly on an initial mark of 92 in this handicap in which the top weight is only on a mark of 98.
At 11/2 each-way with Boylesports, who offer five places each-way, she should be clear favourite in my eyes, despite taking on the easy last-time-out winner Aoibhe’s Beau, who was surely flattered by the winning margin on very heavy ground at Tipperary last time.