Sunday 17 December 2017

Bideford Legend can prove prowess on National stage

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

A field of 16 will go to post for tomorrow's Munster National at Limerick, with the prolific mare For Bill set to carry top-weight of 11st 10lb.

While three miles on slow ground will pose no fears for Mick Winters' mare, having to concede weight all round in such a competitive field won't be easy. The in-form Andrew Lynch-trained Ahorsecalledmolly deserves respect further down the page, though last year's winner Golden Kite could struggle off its current mark.

Fancied for the win in this Ladbrokes-sponsored feature is Bideford Legend, which ran a gallant race to be second on unsuitably testing going in the Kerry National last month. Charles Byrnes' seven-year-old has gone up five pounds for that, but Davy Russell's mount has scope to progress further on just his eighth start over fences, so compensation may be his now.

Russell could also take plenty beating on Far Away So Close in the concluding Beginners' Chase. False Economy and Mayday Frontier provide a decent level of opposition, but Paul Nolan's gelding was by some way the best of these over flights.

Successful off a mark of 130 at Aintree in April, Far Away So Close went on to finish third behind Shot From The Hip in a Grade One at Punchestown.

As a Gigginstown Stud-owned horse, he is sure to be the type to improve for chasing and it is worth noting that Nolan's novice chasers have been in excellent form lately.

Russell, who remains eight to the good at the top of the riders' table, also has a squeak on Philip Fenton's Resolute Bay in the Greenmount Park Novice Hurdle. However, Royal Reveille is strongly expected to land the spoils here for Ted and Ruby Walsh.

The Old Vic six-year-old has won three of his last four in emphatic style. Were the ground at Limerick to deteriorate -- it is currently being described as yielding -- Royal Reveille's task would become less straightforward, but he is nap material as it is.

Loosen My Load is impossible to oppose in the Grade Three Pricewaterhousecoopers Chase. Welsh challenger West With The Wind has plenty winning form, but not against anything like a horse of Loosen My Load's quality.

At Fairyhouse this afternoon, where admission is just €5, Texas Jack is the pick of the day. Representing Noel Meade, this one ran out a convincing winner of the Goffs Land Rover Bumper on its racecourse debut at Punchestown in May.

With the useful Maller Tree second then, that was a fair debut performance, so Paul Carberry's mount could be a formidable rival once again in the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle. On recent form, Pride Of The Artic, third behind Frawley and the subsequent winner Flycorn at Navan, looks the the main threat.

In the opening mares' race, Jessica Harrington's Meitheamh can confirm the promise of its two latest outings to deny Leceile.

Irish Independent

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