Sport Horse Racing

Friday 24 November 2017

Bowe's charge looks likely Lass

Johnny Ward

SEáN Flanagan is like so many other Irishmen of his time: the need to find work has forced him to emigrate.

The young rider will soon depart for Wales and Evan Williams' impressive yard in the Vale of Glamorgan. He can fire a parting shot at Roscommon today, when the Connacht National is officially reborn.

Over three and a half centuries since Catholic landowners were banished west, the province has a steeplechase named in its honour, much to the pride of Roscommon course manager Micheál Finneran. A Wexford-trained mare, Model County Lass, appeals as the most likely winner and is worthy of each-way support.

Model County Lass is not straightforward. She reportedly resents the regular training regime imposed on horses and Colin Bowe, one of Ireland's most talented up-and-coming handlers, is burdened with the need to keep her interested.

However, her form on the track is hard to fault. In 20 career outings, including between the flags, she has won six and been placed 14 times. One day she wears cheekpieces but the next they are discarded -- all to work on her mind.

A point-to-pointer originally, she is likely to prove a more adept chaser than hurdler so it is notable that she sneaks in off bottom weight today, running off a mark that is six pounds shy of her hurdling figure. Rather than leniency on the handicapper's part, her mark merely reflects what she achieved in winning a lesser contest at Downpatrick recently.

However, Model County Lass is not the type to gallop relentlessly away from the last horse she must pass. Her leaping is assured and the chances are she has around a stone or more in hand over fences. Though inexperienced for a race such as today's, that matters less as she has an excellent record in point-to-points, the epitomy of the spirit of jumps racing. She goes into this handicap in confirmed form and there are no concerns about ground or yardage.

Indeed, her appeal is enhanced by the negatives attached to likely market rivals. Another Ambition has done all his winning over two miles; Ah Ya Boy Ya is frustratingly hard to win with; Prince Of Fire must give her 19 pounds; and Montero has gone nearly two years without winning. At around 8/1, she has bright prospects of being placed at worst at a track that should suit.


Model County Lass to win Connacht National, 1pt each way at best morning odds

LEINSTER, long dismissed as an example of the problems facing hurling, is suddenly competitive. Dublin are not far off joint-favourites in their semi-final joust with Galway in Tullamore, recognition of their heroics in the league.

Galway make plenty of appeal at 4/5. The Dubs still have prove themselves at championship level and have people forgotten that the Tribesmen came close to beating Tipperary last year?

Their laboured victory over Westmeath can serve as a disguised blessing and they will be freshened up after a training camp ahead of their visit to O'Connor Park. Galway will be suited by the build-up, most of which will focus on their rivals.


Galway to beat Dublin

2pts at 4/5 (Paddy Power)

THAT wonder-mare Goldikova is still strutting her stuff as a six-year-old is something to be cherished -- an anomaly in the commercially-driven world of Flat racing. She bids on Tuesday to retain her Queen Anne crown at Royal Ascot but can be taken on at around 8/5.

Goldikova just edged Paco Boy 12 months ago but Richard Hannon has a more talented foe now in Canford Cliffs, which should win with a clear run. Champion Stakes winner Cape Blanco could also bother the French filly up front and she is worth laying on Betfair.


Lay Goldikova to win Queen Anne

1pt at 2.6 (1.6pt liability, Betfair)


To a €10 stake: -€221.82

Still running: €55

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