I would be lying if I said that I was massively confident going into today’s selections, with Dundalk and Killarney not usually being my go-to tracks for winners. However, I was delighted to see two winners from two selections and I hope some helped themselves to a few nice winners. River Eden certainly looks an exciting filly to follow for the year ahead, and she started us off with a 9/4 winner at Dundalk. Roca Roma duly obliged in the high class handicap at Killarney at 4/1, holding off Free Solo in the process. Looking forward to Downpatrick and Killarney tomorrow, I am hoping for another few good runs – let’s keep the fingers crossed!
I’m going to start off at Downpatrick and I am going to be taking a risk in the 3.25 – where I am looking for one of the reserves to sneak into this low grade handicap hurdle. The night before a race like this, backing a reserve is no bad thing, as she will more than likely contract in prize if she does get a run, while we will get our money back if she is declared a non-runner. The horse in question is Fainche, who seems to be getting there with maximising her ability and could potentially have the chance to capitalize in her first handicap. Last time out, she came a close up third in a maiden hurdle at Kilbeggan, and has been given a fair opening mark of 92. With Phillip Donavan taking 7 pounds off, and effectively having her race off a mark of 85 – she could be well fancied to go close in what looks an open contest. At a general price of 12/1 with 4 places available, I will be hoping the second reserve can sneak in…and pounce.
Moving onto the following race, with the 2m6f maiden being one of the better races on the card quality wise. Look Don’t Touch brings a solid level of form to the table, while Getaway Pat and Grangeclare Native are horses that have probably not lived up their billing thus far despite looking initially very promising. This leaves me with Mr Jackman, for the in-form team of John McConnell. This horse was an exciting prospect when formerly trained by Gordon Elliot, he won 2 bumpers before being narrowly touched off in two runs over hurdles. He disappointed on stable debut for this yard in a Fairyhouse bumper, but he can make his presence felt here with his stable in much better form than they were in during that festival. At a best price of 11/4 with Bet365 and with the hope he can recapture that early promise in his career, he could take some stopping here.
I could be barking up the wrong tree with my two selections from Killarney, where I’m looking to oppose two Noel Meade hotpots in staying races. Starting off with the 6.25, which is a grueling 2m1f handicap and sees the flat return of Jeff Kidder. Jeff Kidder’s improvement since winning the Fred Winter has been unprecedented, but I don’t like jumps horses returning to the flat as a rule. Even though this could possibly be a penalty kick off a mark of 64, I would be steering well clear at such a prohibitive price. Instead, I am going to take another chance on Anyonecanhaveitall, who is undoubtedly well handicapped off a mark of 63. He won off marks in the high 70s, and placed off marks in the 80s in England, and it was a much improved effort over this marathon trip at Limerick. All this horse does is stay, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them make much more use of him tomorrow, with Ronan Whelan back up. At a price of 10/1 with William Hill with 4 places available, it’s too tempting to turn down.
The final selection for tomorrow comes from the concluding contest at Killarney, the maiden over the extended 1m6f maiden. Again, Noel Meade has a hot favourite with Jesse Evans, who is a horse I have never taken to yet. Instead, I will be siding with Monas Melody for Sam Curling and Pa King. This mare has been very consistent in her efforts, having won a bumper last year at Punchestown last September. She made her debut on the flat in a similar contest a few weeks ago at Leopardstown, when finishing a promising second. The winner, Ever Present, has gone in again at the same track which would indicate the form is solid. I think she is being well overlooked in the market, and at a price of 17/2 with SkyBet with 3 places, I am hoping she can run well.