Richard Forristal: Sunday service
Outsider to note
Sabrina Harty's Kalann is an intriguing debutant in what doesn't look the strongest Grade Three juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse tomorrow.
Granted, without the benefit of a run over flights, Mick Darcy's mount may struggle to win, but he should trade at around 25/1 and may represent each-way value, the nine-runner field ensuring a payout on the first three.
With seven winners to her name, Harty is enjoying her best jumps campaign, while she will have a good marker at home for Kalaan in the shape of dual-winning juvenile Silas Mariner.
In Kalaan's only two outings on the Flat -- both at Dundalk recently -- the son of Barathea has recorded two solid efforts to be fourth and third over 11 and 12 furlongs.
On that evidence, stamina isn't a concern, and few of his eight rivals would have shown superior levels of form before switching to hurdles.
Carlisle 1.55 -- Sonowyouno
Carlisle 3.0 -- Teeming Rain
Fairyhouse 12.15 -- Kalaan
Fairyhouse 1.15 -- The Shepherd King
Quote of the week
"I've a clean shot at it but, if I'm being honest, I probably need that. I could lie to myself and say I'd hold my own if Joseph wasn't gone for the last two days, but I think you could say it would be over." -- Ben Curtis on his bid for the apprentices' title, the outcome of which may turn on Joseph O'Brien's appeal against a two-day ban.
Three things we
learned this week
1 Sport can't half be cruel. Noel Fehily is no stranger to the vagaries of the game given the untimely nature of many of his previous injuries, but the broken wrist that he suffered at Newbury yesterday was a devastating blow. Having already overcome being sidelined for more than seven months of 2010, the 34-year-old was finally set for the bright lights after Paul Nicholls announced on Tuesday that he would partner Kauto Star at Christmas. At the time, you suspect the King George couldn't have come soon enough for Fehily. Now, unfortunately for the rider, it will probably come too soon.
2 Notre Pere might yet be the Grand National horse he has always looked. Jim Dreaper's giant chaser seemed made for Aintree after sluicing up in the Welsh National two years ago, but the subsequent wet spring allowed the mud-lover to punch above his weight in Grade Ones, and the National got put on the long finger. He finally had a taster over the big fences when fifth in the Becher Chase last Sunday, so a return for the main event in April is a real possibility now. All he needs is rain.
3 Imperial Commander's injury might be a blessing in disguise. The reigning Gold Cup holder did little wrong on his comeback last Saturday, but a minor cut that he sustained in the process could rule him out of the King George. Given his dismal record at Kempton, that might be no bad thing.
Monday: Folkestone, Ffos Las, Wolverhampton (AW).
Tuesday: Hereford, Lingfield (AW) Southwell.
Wednesday: Navan, Ayr, Catterick, Kempton* (AW), Plumpton.
Thursday: Fairyhouse, Leicester, Market Rasen, Wincanton, Wolverhampton* (AW).
Friday: Dundalk* (AW), Exeter, Lingfield (AW), Sandown, Wolverhampton* (AW)
Saturday: Navan, Chepstow, Sandown, Southwell (AW), Wetherby, Wolverhampton* (AW).
Sunday: Clonmel, Punchestown, Kelso, Lingfield (AW), Warwick.