Carefree to keep in-form Weld smiling
The focus of attention on day five of the Listowel Harvest Festival switches to the Flat, with the €17,225 Guinness Handicap the most valuable race on the card. However, there is plenty of quality jumping action too, highlighted by the clash of multiple winners Ballyadam Brook, Dusty Trail and Hazeymm in the novice hurdle.
Lucky 15 quartet
Carefree Smile, representing an in-form Dermot Weld, could be the one to keep on side in the nine-furlong feature event. A winner on slow ground at Ballinrobe last year, this will be the first time that Carefree Smile has had the opportunity to run on similar going since then.
She comes here on the back of one of her best runs of the season, a third-place finish at the Curragh three weeks ago, and this isn't a race with any great strength in depth. If Per Chance, Few Are Chosen and Separate Ways are the form horses, but they are all creeping up the ratings, so Carefree Smile appeals off just 8st 12lb.
In the Southampton Goodwill Chase, Deutschland may appreciate the smaller field after coming to grief in the Kerry National on Wednesday, while Ballyadam Brook is fancied in the South West Bins Novice Hurdle.
Paul Townend's mount has to give weight away all round, but he could be hard to peg back if he gets into a rhythm.
The Deutschland team of Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins have another big chance in the John J Galvin Maiden Hurdle. Lightly raced over the past two years, Ballyhaunis wasn't disgraced on two outings on the Flat recently, and the 2008 Curragh maiden winner should have too much class for today's rivals now that he reverts to hurdling.
Lay of the day
Hello Man, which bounced back to form with a win on the beach at Laytown last week, isn't the most solid-looking favourite in the John and Terry Moriarty Memorial Handicap. At seven-years-old, Gary Carroll's mount may be vulnerable to something a bit less exposed, and his five-pound penalty for winning at Laytown means that he must concede weight all round today.
Rock Medley won yesterday having finished fourth just four days previously at the Curragh. Today, no less than 10 horses reappear within seven days of their last run, three of which made the frame last time.
In the opener, Sassaway and Dundrum Dancer, runners-up here on Monday and Tuesday respectively, bid to go one better, as does If Per Chance -- which just failed at the Curragh on Sunday -- in the Guinness Handicap. In all, five of the 12 runners in the big race are making quick reappearances, with Miranda's Girl and High Vintage two others that just missed out on placings in recent days.
Key Listowel stat
The last three winners of the opening LM Carey & Company Handicap have all been drawn in either stall one or three. Stall one, which accounted for one of the three, houses the consistent Elusive Art this afternoon, while the outsider Irish Reel breaks from the plum draw of three.