Richard Forristal: Sunday service
Outsider to note
Prince Of Fire
As big as 16/1 with one firm, Prince Of Fire is value for each-way money in tomorrow's MCR Hurdle at Leopardstown. A maiden hurdle winner at the Christmas Festival just over a year ago, he preceded that effort by taking third behind Sweeps Hill on his hurdling debut.
On his two subsequent starts following his Leopardstown win, he split Un Hinged and Magnanimity when second at Navan, before then failing to stay two and a half miles when sixth in a hot handicap at the Punchestown Festival.
Since then, he has only run over fences, performing adequately, and he warrants respect now that he reverts to two miles over the smaller obstacles. With Tony McCoy up, he could go very close.
Leopardstown 12.20 -- Eightybarackstreet
Leopardstown 1.20 -- Magnanimity
Leopardstown 1.50 -- Askmeroe
Leopardstown 2.25 -- Prince Of Fire
8,806,163 The 2010 earnings of Giant's Causeway's offspring in dollars. The former Iron Horse topped the North American sires' table for a second time.
24 The combined ages of Sublimity and Newmill, former champions that filled the first two places in a hurdle race at Cork on Monday.
4 Nina Carberry's haul from her last six rides.
Quote of the week
"Five years ago, I was turning over £50,000 a day with all sorts of characters in the ring. We didn't have electric boards, we had clerk's pencils and tic-tacs, and it was enjoyable, but now my turnover is down to £10,000 and we are just robots. Everybody stands there with computers, and if you stood on the steps you would see all the electronic boards change at the same time as a price moves on the betting exchanges." -- Popular British bookie Barry Dennis laments the demise of the betting ring as he announces that he is stepping back from the frontline at the age of 70.
Three things we
learned this week
1 Celtic Bookmakers' demise was another reminder of why Irish racing needs to tap into the massive pool of money that has migrated to online operators. Given that much of the game's funding is derived from the bookmakers' 1pc tax, bookies' woes are racing's woes. Right now, the playing field is far from level and both the bookmaking and racing sectors will bleed jobs until a solution is found.
2 Noel Fehily will miss the Cheltenham Festival. Despite returning from his initial wrist injury to deliver one of the rides of the season on Master Minded last month, Fehily's lot deteriorated along with his wrist soon after. Having had to first rule himself out of the King George VI Chase ride on Kauto Star, this week he revealed that Cheltenham would also now come too soon.
3 Sheikh Mohammed continues to tweak operations at Godolphin in an effort to recapture the firm's old muscle. Following his decision to once again put juveniles in training in Ireland last year, the Sheikh has now decided to place Casamento with his new man Mahmood Al Zarooni rather than Saeed Bin Suroor.
Monday: Taunton, Wolverhampton (AW)
Tuesday: Leicester, Newcastle, Southwell (AW)
Wednesday: Doncaster, Kelso, Kempton* (AW), Lingfield (AW)
Thursday: Thurles, Catterick, Hereford, Kempton* (AW), Southwell (AW)
Friday: Huntingdon, Lingfield (AW), Musselburgh, *Wolverhampton (AW)
Saturday: Naas, Kempton, Lingfield (AW), Warwick, Wetherby
Sunday: Fairyhouse, Ffos Las, Southwell (AW)