Friday 24 March 2017

Ten Pinhal to justify Welsh trip for Roche

Waterford-based handler Paul Roche sends three horses on the boat to compete at Ffos Las in Wales tomorrow.

Of the three, Ten Pinhal appeals as the most likely winner in the first race of the day, a two-mile mares' novice hurdle.

At first glance, the likes of Arctic Actress and Cross The Flags appear fairly serious opposition.

However, the bumper that Arctic Actress won for Nicky Henderson was a desperate race, and the one that Jonjo O'Neill's Cross The Flags finished second in at Bangor wasn't much better. Ten Pinhal is no superstar either, but she might just be up to this.

Certainly, if the British handicapper is justified in allotting her a rating of 108, which is 21lbs higher than her modest mark at home, then she should go very close tomorrow.

While she has had plenty of tries already, the seven-year-old performed probably as well as she has ever done to finish third in a Killarney maiden on her most recent start in August, and this may prove to be a weaker race.

Roche also saddles two in the bumper, but it is Tom Taaffe's runner Georges Street that is worth closer consideration in this.

In three spring starts under its owner Paul McMahon, when Taaffe's horses were out of form, Georges Street didn't run at all badly in decent company.

First time up at Naas in February, he finished fifth behind four previous winners in a race won by the high-class Samain.

While it was disappointing that he didn't win thereafter, that more than likely had something to do with the health of Taaffe's string, and he wasn't beaten too far on either occasion.

Tomorrow's race is by no means a walkover, but neither does it look anything like as competitive as the bumpers Georges Street contested before. If Taaffe has him wound up, and he'd hardly travel if he hadn't, then he ought to go very close.

Outsider to note

Menadati

Peter Hiatt's charge is forecast to trade at double-figure odds in the first division of the mile handicap at Goodwood tomorrow.

If he does turn out to be anything like as big as that, he would warrant each-way support, as he is a three-year-old that is unlikely to be done improving yet.

A seven-furlong maiden winner last year, he switched stables after one poor outing this term.

On his debut for Hiatt's yard, Menadati ran encouragingly to finish fourth over a mile on soft ground at Chepstow two weeks ago. He reappears now on better going, so he could serve it up to his 13 rivals if he is in similar form.

Sunday Yankee

Ffos Las 2.20 --Ten Pinhal

Ffos Las 5.30 -- Georges Street

Goodwood 4.45 -- Menadati

Limerick 3.30 -- Royal Reveille

Numbers game

18,000 What it will cost John Oxx in pounds sterling to supplement Saddler's Rock for a £200,000 Group Three at Ascot next Saturday.

20 The percentage of the 79 Melbourne Cup acceptors that are Irish-bred.

2The number of Ballydoyle runners at Keeneland tonight. Together runs in the First Lady Stakes at 9.37, and Zoffany in the Turf Mile at 10.45. Both are Grade Ones.

Quote of the week

"I have contacted the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney regarding the chairmanship of HRI and informed him that, in my opinion, the position should be filled by a non-racing person, as I believe the HRI board would be best served by an impartial individual not involved in the industry." -- Pierce Molony, a former senior Turf Club steward and former HRI vice-chairman, said he had no interest in the soon-to-be vacant position, but spoke for many within the game with this contribution.

Three things we

learned this week

1 At a time when nearly every day brings news of a trainer in difficulty handing in their licence, it was a breath of fresh air to see a new recruit in Sinead O'Sullivan saddle her first winner at Tramore on Thursday.

Faced with the prospect of a job search when Thomas O'Leary switched vocations last year, O'Sullivan opted instead to take over the Clonakilty yard where she had looked after the likes of Scarthy Lad and Newmill.

At Tramore, Shotavodka, her second runner, hosed up in the manner of a smart horse, making all the hard work worthwhile. From little acorns, and all that.

2 The Real Article's win at Tipperary on Sunday will have left a sour taste in the mouths of those who lost money on the horse at the track in July.

Despite winning by eight lengths, he was struck four times with the whip, which flew in the face of Edward O'Grady's alleged instruction to Paddy Mangan not to hit the horse when he went down by a whisker to Captain Cee Bee back then. Coincidentally or otherwise, on the day that he was ridden so vigorously he was heavily backed into 11/4 favouritism.

3 Slowly, the message about entrance fees is getting home. Tracks have been announcing price drops all week. Punchestown (up to 33pc drop) and Fairyhouse (up to 30pc and €5 in today) have done well, but it's free in to a decent card at The Curragh tomorrow.

Top tipping

RICHARD FORRISTAL capped another good week for his followers when Bible Black landed generous odds of 12/1 at Dundalk last night. That followed a 23/1 treble for his selections at Navan on Wednesday and a 16/1 double at Tramore on Thursday.

Racing Diary

Monday: Salisbury, Windsor, Yarmouth.

Tuesday: Huntingdon, Leicester, Newcastle.

Wednesday: Punchestown, Kempton* (AW), Lingfield (AW), Nottingham, Wetherby.

Thursday: Punchestown, Brighton, Kempton* (AW), Uttoxeter, Wincanton.

Friday: Dundalk* (AW), Cheltenham, Haydock, Redcar Wolverhampton* (AW).

Saturday: Cork, Downpatrick, Ascot, Catterick, Cheltenham, Kelso, Wolverhampton* (AW).

Sunday: Cork, Naas, Bath, Kempton.

Irish Independent

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