Sunday 30 April 2017

Passage looks the Rite way to go

Jockey Adrian Heskin celebrates winning the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase aboard the Michael Hourigan-trained A New Story on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival yesterday
Jockey Adrian Heskin celebrates winning the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase aboard the Michael Hourigan-trained A New Story on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival yesterday

DAVID CASEY

HOPEFULLY you took yesterday's advice to wait for my winning nap selection Quevega in the last race, but the plan is to get in on the action a little earlier today with Rite of Passage.

Dermot Weld's inmate has to be favourite for the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle and he can give his famous trainer a long overdue festival winner. This son of Giant's Causeway has been steadily improving since finishing third in last year's Champion Bumper and so far he has done nothing wrong over hurdles.

Looking at the rest of the field, there's no one there that I feel could have won the Leopardstown November Handicap like Rite of Passage did and the fact he might have went the Supreme Novices route speaks volumes about his ability.

Alan King's Manyriverstocross can follow him up the hill and is a decent each-way shout. He was third behind Get Me Out Of Here last time out, who ran a great race yesterday.

I'll follow the crowd for the big race of the day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and nail my colours to the mast of Master Minded. An odds-on price doesn't leave much room for error and the failure of Dunguib yesterday will have cowed a few punters but he looked good at Newbury last time and will take all the beating.

The day opens with the four-mile marathon for amateur riders which is always difficult to call.

You're nearly backing the jockey in something like this and, on that basis, I'd give Derek O'Connor's mount Any Currency a good chance while Howard Johnson's Abbeybraney has had a few decent runs in graded chases and has to be respected.

The RSA Chase at 2.40 looks like it will come down to a shoot-out between Long Run and Punchestowns and I'm going to plump for the latter, who won at a canter at Sandown last time. Long Run is a five-year-old and is in quality company here, so Barry Geraghty's mount looks to be the way to go.

Quantitiveeasing will attract plenty of attention in the Coral Cup as he looks well handicapped but you could argue he is a short price for a field of this size. Shadow Dancer for Jonjo O'Neill could be worth a shout as he is improving while Willie Mullins' Deutschland should also be in the reckoning but it's an extremely difficult race to decipher.

The Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle often provides a favourite winner with Notus De La Tour leading the market for David Pipe but it's his stablemate Hunterview which catches my eye while Tom Cooper's charge Son Amix has a chance but has plenty of weight to carry.

After a good run from Offshore Account yesterday, I'm hoping for more of the same when I partner Up Ou That in the Bumper in the final race of the day.

He won by 16 lengths in Fairyhouse last time out and he's working well at home and in good form. But it's a very open bumper this year and I'll give an each-way chance to John Kiely's Frawley who is an improving sort.

1.30 -- Any Currency

2.05 -- Rite of Passage (NAP)

2.40 -- Punchestowns

3.20 -- Master Minded

4.00 -- Shadow Dancer

4.40 -- Hunterview

5.15 -- Frawley (e/w)

Irish Independent

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