House can rule for Ruby in Listowel
Published 04/06/2011 | 05:00
Listowel and Kilbeggan both host competitive if unspectacular fixtures tomorrow afternoon.
Ruby Walsh makes the journey south for the first part of Listowel's two-day festival, where he has a useful spin in each of the three jumps races on the card. House Rules, Walsh's ride in the concluding John B Keane Hurdle, may be the pick of his lot.
Henry de Bromhead's gelding was a good winner of a bumper at Gowran Park last October, before going on to turn in two solid efforts in decent maiden hurdles.
When he returned from a five-month lay-off at Punchestown last month, he was beaten only by Greenbelt Star, which was fit from a couple of smart runs on the Flat.
House Rules kept galloping all the way to the line that day. With the outing under his belt now, he is difficult to look beyond. Of the other 10 runners, Back In A Tic and Khayar made the frame last time, but neither would have the selection's potential.
Walsh rides David Marnane's useful Flat campaigner Lime Tree Valley in the Croom House Stud Maiden Hurdle. The 82-rated six-year-old should not be too far away if he takes to the jumping, although he might have it all to do to beat Rebel Fitz.
Worldly Wise is an experienced contender that should also make his presence felt, but Rebel Fitz could be a class apart. Mick Winters' French-bred won two bumpers last autumn, before going on to be beaten a couple of lengths when fourth in a Grade Two at Leopardstown after Christmas.
He won't face the same quality of opposition now. With leading amateur Mikey O'Connor presumably forfeiting a day's point-to-pointing to take the ride, Rebel Fitz can overcome his lack of hurdling experience to collect.
Earlier, Jouster should be able to make amends for his defeat at Ballinrobe on Monday evening. Andy Oliver's Acclamation gelding tackles the three-year-old maiden over a mile, a well-contested race that sees the Aidan O'Brien-trained President Lincoln bid to lose his maiden status at the ninth time of asking.
A number of the 16-strong field have hinted that they would be up to winning a maiden, but Jouster may be the classiest prospect. Third on his debut at Killarney last month, only the experienced Adiynara out-battled him by a neck on Monday.
In the qualified riders' race, former Ballydoyle inmate Banyan Tree gets the nod.
The Danehill Dancer four-year-old spent 2010 on the sidelines, but he has shown distinct promise on two starts over hurdles for John Halley lately.
At Kilbeggan, Artiste Bay can follow up his recent course and distance win in the Dunbia Handicap Chase. Eddie O'Connell's mount beat Pistol Jack and subsequent winner Guts For Garters in good style last time, and is only six pounds higher now.
He will need to account for Guts For Garters again here, but should be capable of doing so. Marwood is also fancied in the bumper for Roger McGrath and Nina Carberry, having caught the eye when third at Wexford on its debut.