Sunday 18 February 2018

Ahern's War Of Words can burn the dead wood

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

WAR OF WORDS, representing Dungourney-based handler Denis Ahern and up-and-coming conditional jockey Gareth Malone, is the nap selection at Clonmel.

The six-year-old contests the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle on what is a tricky card, but he appeals as an unexposed sort in an eight-runner affair not lacking its share of dead wood, with six of the field aggregating 60 years of age.

Jack The Ref, the Philip Rothwell-trained five-year-old, is the other with youth on its side. However, with 14 starts over hurdles already, the JP McManus-owned runner is more exposed than War Of Words.

Successful in a point-to-point last year, Ahern's son of Dushyantor showed its first hint of ability on the track when third to Happy New Year on its handicap bow at Limerick last week.

Off the same mark now, he can collect for 20-year-old Malone, who has quickly ridden five winners since getting off the mark at Wexford in July.

Later on, The Real Article is an interesting participant in the two-and-a-quarter-mile beginners' chase. Of Edward O'Grady's charge's 14 rivals, none can match his exploits over hurdles, which earned him an inflated mark of 154 at his best.

A number of the opposition, including Castle Wings, Cadspeed and Savello, have the aid of chasing experience, while Dream Function, a dual hurdle winner in England out of the top-class race-mare Function Dream, also has a first stab at fences on her debut for Colm Murphy.

Nonetheless, The Real Article has always had a touch of class, so he is fancied to get the job done for Paddy Mangan.

Glens Melody is the other that lends a hint of quality to proceedings in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares' Maiden Hurdle.

Willie Mullins' four-year-old looked the part in clocking up a bumper hat-trick this summer, and lost little in defeat when outgunned by Minsk on her jumping bow at Punchestown.

A repeat of that could see her score under the champion trainer's son Patrick, and the duo ought to take the bumper with Ballycasey as well.

The Closutton outfit will also have a big say in the juvenile hurdle with the Ruby Walsh-ridden Fatcatinthehat.

A wide-margin maiden winner at Galway in August, the Authorized gelding should have no trouble with the testing ground conditions.

Irish Independent

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