Richard Forristal: Sunday service
Outsider to note
A field of eight for the two-mile handicap hurdle at Plumpton tomorrow means that the 0-125 contest is a viable option for each-way punters. With half of the delegates bringing placed form to the table, it is competitive, but Screaming Brave has enough going for him to suggest that he could defy long odds by at least making the frame.
Most importantly, while Screaming Brave is a horse that has gone without a win for two years, this is the first time that he will encounter proper fast going since finishing second off 113 at Ffos Las a year ago.
The five-year-old has continued to run respectably since then, highlighted by his rating rising to a career-high 123.
However, he struggled to make an impression in two good races recently, and his rating has now dropped to a more manageable 120. With Marc Goldstein taking three further pounds off that, Screaming Brave will have a chance off top-weight.
150,000 The amount in euro that Michael O'Leary will offer to pay, including potential add-ons, and live on RTE, for the winner of the bumper at Fairyhouse on Monday.
5 The number of months that Australian Flat jockey Shane Scriven has been banned for after stealing an apprentice's whip during a race.
1 Trainer Sam Curling's tally following his debut success with Ballochroy at Clonmel on Thursday.
Quote of the week
"Alex has roped me into a share of a two-year-old with Richard Hannon. He rang me and asked if I'd like a bit of a yearling and I said yes, thinking it would cost me five grand or so. Well it turns out the horse cost £80,000 and my bit is 20 grand!" -- Paul Nicholls confirms that Alex Ferguson has learned a thing or two about the racing game since the Rock Of Gibraltar saga some years ago.
Three things we
learned this week
1 The jump jockeys' championship is about to get interesting. In Paul Townend's absence, Davy Russell has managed to whittle down his fellow Corkman's advantage to seven.
That's still a considerable lead, but Townend's return has been postponed until Tuesday at the earliest, while he may have to be content with just a share of the Willie Mullins' mounts in the final fortnight now that Ruby Walsh has got his feet under the table again.
Equally ominous for Townend is that Russell approaches the Fairyhouse Easter Festival with a potent book of rides, and the youngster probably won't need reminding that the Gigginstown man left the meeting last year with five victories.
2 Peter Toole has turned a corner. In a week that also saw encouraging updates on Rodi Greene and Richard Hawkins, news that Toole has left intensive care following the head injuries he received at Aintree was welcome.
The County Meath native is still in a high-dependency unit, but that constitutes progress, albeit of the sobering variety.
3 This year's English 2,000 Guineas will be easily previewed. The first Classic of the season is often a real head-scratcher, but Frankel's performance at Newbury last Saturday confirmed that Henry Cecil's colt is as good as ever. The rest will be running for second.
Cork 2.10 -- Kalann
Sandown 3.50 -- Genius Beast
Sandown 4.25 -- Arizona Jewel
Plumpton 4.15 -- Screaming Brave
Monday: Cork, Fairyhouse, Fakenham, Ffos Las, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Plumpton, Redcar, Warwick, Yarmouth
Tuesday: Fairyhouse, Exeter, Lingfield (AW), Sedgefield*, Wolverhampton* (AW), Yarmouth
Wednesday: Ballinrobe*, Ascot, Kempton* (AW), Newcastle*, Perth, Pontefract
Thursday: Tipperary*, Bath, Brighton*, Hereford, Perth, Southwell*
Friday: Dundalk* (AW), Kilbeggan*, Bangor*, Doncaster, Fontwell*, Leicester, Perth
Saturday: Dundalk (AW), Doncaster*, Goodwood, Hexham*, Newmarket, Thirsk, Uttoxeter
Sunday: Gowran Park, Sligo, Hamilton, Newmarket, Salisbury