McCreery

What Lies Ahead for us today at Navan

A satisfying day for us on Sunday with three winners (7-1, 7-1 and 5-1).

One interest today on what is a really decent midweek fixture at Navan.

What Lies Ahead is a horse I have been watching with interest ever since she landed a heavy ground Punchestown bumper last February and he might be ready to go close off what looks an exploitable mark on the level today. The representative of former Kildare Gaelic Footballer Willie McCreery,who has always spoke highly off the filly, I previously fancied her for a similar handicap at Galway, and although she weakened up the hill there, I was impressed with the way she tanked through the race.

Last week she was out of her depth behind Second Step at The Curragh, but did not shape without promise all the same. A stiff ten furlongs with ease in the ground could be just what the Doctor ordered and I would not be surprised if we get a career best from her today. Whether that is good enough, we will wait and see.

Navan 2.40: 1pt ew WHAT LIES AHEAD (9-1, Bet Victor)
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 What Lies Ahead for us today at Navan

Plumpton

Blacksmith a shoe in at Plumpton

We have some decent enough racing in Britain for a Monday with Pontefract staging a typically competitive card for their final fixture of 2014 and Plumpton staging its usual classy novice chase on an otherwise average card. I have a local challenger for that race, plus one from the long distance race at Pontefract

Plumpton 4.00: De Blacksmith

When he shook up Uxizandre in this race twelve months ago – his first chasing start under rules, getting beaten just a neck by Alan King’s charge, a profitable novice chase season ahead looked assured. However De Blacksmith was not able to get his head in front in any of his six following races.

That means he remains a novice for this season however, and he did show enough last year even later in the season that a win has to come his way eventually over fences. Indeed although there are several highly rated rivals in opposition here, this could provide as good an opening as any. De Blacksmith has a good record at his local track, his form figures reading 1223, two more solid placed efforts being raised post Christmas.

He has inched down the handicap so is now 3lbs lower than for his good run last year in this race. There does not look anything of Uxizandre’s quality in here, with Azure Fly the classy horse, but one full of quirks than means he cannot be relied upon. Of the others Seventh Sky would prefer faster going, Auld Sthock could need the run and lacks chasing experience, Romeo Americo is best going right-handed, whilst Fergal Mael Duin looked a weak finisher last year.

Pontefract 4.40: Dan Emmett

After a steady start to his career, trainer John Wainwright looks to have found the key to Dan Emmett which is to apply cheekpieces and provide an extreme stamina test for his gelding. Therefore a first visit to Pontefract looks very much in order and it looks very much as if he will enjoy this first try at 18f.

He only began his racing career last winter with a couple of tries on the All Weather, and whilst he is clearly devoid of pace, he showed promise in two 12f runs at Southwell. Trainer John Quinn was happy to let him go and he was sent to join Wainwright for a first season on turf this summer. He showed little in his first three runs, but they were all on fast ground.

At Thirsk in August he was asked to run on soft ground for the first time, upped to 2m and fitted with cheekpieces for the first time. He responded in a strongly run contest with a 12l win, relishing every yard of the trip. We did not see him again until Newcastle last week – perhaps waiting for the weather to break and get some more give in the ground. It was good-to-soft at Newcastle and once again he was running on strongly at the finish over 2m. Therefore another 2f on this stiffer track and even softer ground should be ideal and he can race off the same mark of 70 today.

Recommended bets:

Plumpton 4.00: De Blacksmith – 11-2 BetVictor, Coral

Pontefract 4.40: Dan Emmett – 4-1 general

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 Blacksmith a shoe in at Plumpton

Donocha

More big handicap success for young Donnacha O’ Brian?

An exciting days racing on the domestic front with two cards at Naas and Cork.

My Father used to say that the winter is very close when you have the Birdcatcher Nursery at Naas and this years renewal is a competitive contest featuring a few horses to watch out for in early three-year old handicaps next season. I was quite pleased with the effort of Captain My Captain in the sales races at The Curragh recently, where he stayed on stoutly for fifth despite having been hampered by drawn wide and forced to race wide of the main body of runners throughout. A progeny of Captain Rio, he will not mind any deterioration in ground conditions and could run well.

An interesting conundrum about the one mile listed race is that the main market leaders are all returning after lengthy absences perhaps suggesting they have been waiting for the softer ground. Slight preference is afforded to Avenue Gabriel who was not far off the best Irish three-year old fillies last year and ran better than her final placing indicated in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last May.

Moving on to the race of the day , The Woodlands 100 Club October Handicap at 4.55. Bred in the purple,it is not surprising that young Donnacha O’ Brien(pictured far right) is starting to make an impact and he could well follow-up his recent Cesarewitch triumph with another top weight Blue Hussar. The son of Montjeu displayed promise in a Lingfield Derby trial last May and ran pleasingly last week in listed company at The Curragh. The deployment of O’Brien’s seven pounds claim looks a shrewd move by his Father and he might outclass them.

Lucky Bridle might represent some each-way value , but possibly the biggest threat is the lightly raced Callini Alainn (lovely girls). John Oxx’s filly debuted at Galway in the summer running Silwana close in a maiden despite racing somewhat green. A half-sister to Dark Crusader she did the job in a professional manner next time in an egg and spoon race at Leopardstown leaving the impression she may be useful in time. I suspect she will rate higher than her current mark and provided she is streetwise enough today, she has to be a big threat off a nice weight.

 

Over at Cork, Gerntleman Duke might be a blot on the handicap in the 3.35 2 Mile Chase.This was a horse who shaped with promise in good company last year and he has dropped a few pounds in the handicap since. Arthur Moore gave him a nice introduction back winning at Ballinrobe over hurdles and similar positive tactics could yield dividends here.

Selections:

 

Naas 2.40: 1 pt ew CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN (7-1, General)

Naas 3.15: 1 pt win AVENUE GABRIEL (7-1, General)

Naas 4.55: 2 pts ew BLUE HUSSAR (7-1, General) ; 1.5 pts win CAILINI ALAINN (6-1, General)

Cork 3,.25: 2 pts win GENTLEMAN DUKE (11-2, General)

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 More big handicap success for young Donnacha O Brian?

 

 

Rockfella

Fresh fella will take some passing

The return of The New One at Kempton is the racing highlight today at Kempton as the top hurdler makes his seasonal reappearance – however at such short odds the preceding handicap chase makes more appeal from a punting point of view. However perhaps the best bet comes at Bath where a horse best returning from a break looks interesting. Winners were difficult to come by at Ascot although Pallasator placed for the each-way bet (8-1).

Bath 3.05: Rockfella

The record of Rockfella returning to the track from an absence of 100 days or more reads 3441132 and he has been off for exactly 100 days since finishing in midfield at Ascot back in July. Therefore a fresh Rockfella, who enjoys racing up with the pace these days, could be difficult to catch in a race where there does not appear an abundance of early pace to take him on.

Also to Rockfella’s benefit is a decent course record, albeit dating back a few years as he has a win and a third place to his name in handicaps here. He also handles cut in the ground perfectly well – indeed probably needs it these days, so ground conditions will be in his favour too.

His comeback run this season at Salisbury must rate close to a career best. Returning in the valuable City Bowl, he again tried to make most and only had to give way to the progressive Whiplash Willie in the closing stages. That horse was a most unlucky fourth at Champions Day yesterday to underline the worth of that form. He probably found quick ground against him at Ascot last time, but a return to a slow surface today and that extended break should see him back to his best from just a 2lb higher mark than Salisbury.

Kempton 3.50: Rio Milan

Although he is nearing 9yo now Rio Milan has had little racing, not taking in a jumps contest until twelve months ago. However he is bred for chasing and showed enough promise last autumn to suggest he could be well handicapped for his seasonal return today in a race full of potentially exposed types.

Second in his only bumper back in 2011, he only returned to the track last autumn, racing with promise in three novice hurdles at Uttoxeter prior to Christmas. The form stacks up well enough with the winners of those races all going on to contest higher grade races later in the season. Rio Milan’s form dropped away badly after that, but the Fergal O’Brien horses were off colour at the time so there is a ready made excuse for his lack of progress in the spring.

He did take in a couple of chases last season, jumping poorly on debut at Warwick, but he was more professional at Exeter on his last run, albeit he finished well beaten. There was a suggestion that he would prefer a right-handed track during his races last season, so this course should suit and with the O’Brien horses in better form at present he could return to the form he displayed last autumn.

Recommended bets:

Bath 3.05: Rockfella (each-way) – 10-1 Bet365

Kempton 3.50: Rio Milan – 9-1 BetVictor

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 Fresh fella will take some passing

Night of Thunder

Listen to the Roar of Thunder on Champions Day

Selections:

Ascot 1.40: 1 pt win LEADING LIGHT (3-1, General)

Ascot 3.30: 3 pts win NIGHT OF THUNDER (3-1, General) 0.75 pts ew TOORMOOR (W/O Night of Thunder- Corals 20-1)

Ascot 4.45: 1 pt ew BOLD THADY QUILL (25-1, General) ; 1 pt win CHATEZ (8-1, General)

Cork 4.55: 1 pt win SPIRITED (10-1, General)

 

Apologies for no write up- computer problems)

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 Listen to the Roar of Thunder on Champions Day