Life can be a beach for followers of Condon's Curl Cat
Published 08/09/2011 | 05:00
Laytown hosts its annual Flat fixture on the beach this evening.
A racecourse for one day only, local tides dictate that this year's gathering at the unique Co Meath venue gets under way at 4.45.
As ever, it's an occasion that owes as much to novelty as quality, with champion jump jockey Paul Townend among a number of National Hunt riders set to compete at the water's edge.
Ken Condon, the Maynooth handler who is enjoying his best ever season, is fancied to continue the momentum that has yielded 22 winners under both codes since May by scoring with his two runners on the card. Curl Cat, his representative in the Hibernia Steel Qualified Riders' Race, is particularly interesting under Mikey Fogarty.
Successful on the synthetic all-weather surface at Dundalk in the past, the five-year-old returned to form in an apprentices' race over 10 furlongs at Clonmel last time.
Having been placed three times already this term, he was due that win and is again slightly favoured by the framing of the weights for this seven-furlong contest.
The only two that are rated superior to Curl Cat, Livaleon and Phoebe Van Gelder, certainly don't appear to be the most trustworthy.
Smoky Cloud, Condon's runner in the opening handicap, probably has more to do than Curl Cat, but turned in an encouraging effort when second at Wexford last time.
In the following Gilna's Cottage Inn Maiden, the appropriately named Hot Sand gets the nap vote. This isn't the strongest of heats and Ger O'Leary's gelding ought to collect if he handles the conditions and runs up to his official mark of 71.
Fresh from his exploits on So You Think at the weekend, Seamie Heffernan could get back among the winners when he gets the leg-up on the Willie McCreery-trained Queen Commander in the www.angloprinters.ie Claiming Race, while Andrew Lynch is taken to score on Headache for Brendan Duke in the O'Neills Sports Handicap.
A four-time winner on the all-weather, Headache ran its best race for some time to be beaten just a length and a quarter when third at Cork last month.