Sport Horse Racing

Monday 23 January 2017

Down Royal punters can add to their 'Pack' with Venitien De Mai

Published 03/02/2016 | 02:30

With Jonathan Burke sidelined, Jamie Codd, who partnered Venitien De Mai to two of his four point-to-point wins, will do the steering in the two-and-a-half-mile beginners' chase (AFP)
With Jonathan Burke sidelined, Jamie Codd, who partnered Venitien De Mai to two of his four point-to-point wins, will do the steering in the two-and-a-half-mile beginners' chase (AFP)

This afternoon’s Down Royal spread might be of limited quality, but officials at the Maze venue have at least made an effort to give customers some value for money with their ‘Punters Pack’.

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General admission costs £10, but, if you booked prior to today, a £20 bundle offer included a decent range of add-ons.

Apart from the entrance fee and access to the Beef Or Salmon suite, the sterling score gets punters a pint, a £5 matched bet, a pork roll and a race card, so it is a worthy initiative.

As for the small matter of making money, Venitien De Mai is fancied to justify the nap vote for Jim Dreaper.

With Jonathan Burke sidelined, Jamie Codd, who partnered Venitien De Mai to two of his four point-to-point wins, will do the steering in the two-and-a-half-mile beginners’ chase.

The frustrating Network gelding hasn’t lived up to the promise of his 100pc record in that sphere, winning just once in seven starts.

However, he has been consistent, making the frame on each of his six completed outings. Venitien De Mai was also bang there when he fell at the last fence on his chasing debut at Thurles, and he wasn’t disgraced when third to Noble Endeavour here last time. Marlbrook, second that day, has won well since, so the form is solid.

Granted, Venitien De Mai has a history of finding one too good, often leaving the impression that he needs three miles, which, for some reason, he has yet to race over on the track. Still, this isn’t a great race, so he gets the nod to begin fulfilling his potential.

Two of Christy Roche’s last three runners have won and both turn out again here.

Coolaghknock Glebe, which readily justified strong market support at Fairyhouse on Saturday, carries a six-pound penalty in today’s two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.

Spare

Gordon Elliott’s Tocororo is potentially well-handicapped off a mark of 116 after beating the subsequent winner Swamp Fox last time, but Coolaghknock Glebe looked to have a bit to spare on Saturday.

If none the worse, he can follow up for Alan Crowe, while Dragon Khan is worth opposing in the novices’ handicap. Preferred in that is Noel Kelly’s Angus Milan, a course winner at Christmas that didn’t stay over two-and-a-half at Navan recently. Back over the minimum trip, he should have the scope to upset the likely favourite.

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