Ballymak can get on scoresheet for in-form Elliott yard
WHILE the focus is on the Cotswolds this afternoon, racegoers on this side of the Irish Sea have a choice of meetings.
Down Royal and Wexford form a St Patrick's Day double bill, with the most exciting prospect on duty -- Ballymak for the in-form Gordon Elliott yard -- heading to the northern track for what looks the proverbial penalty kick.
Ballymak was entered in yesterday's four-miler at Cheltenham, which was won by his stablemate Chicago Grey after a fine ride from leading amateur Derek O'Connor, underlining the high opinion that Elliott has of the Michael O'Leary-owned gelding.
Davy Condon has the leg-up on the eight-year-old and it will be a major surprise if the partnership doesn't win this with something to spare.
Elliott has chosen the opening maiden hurdle as the return for Definite All Star, which hasn't been seen since last August, but will give Noel Meade's recent Downpatrick runner-up Kid Curry something to think about if fully wound up.
Grand National hope Vic Venturi is the classiest on the card and he heads the weights for the conditions chase. The Dessie Hughes-trained veteran is taking a major step down in class having contested the Lexus and the Bobbyjo Chase on his only two appearances over the larger obstacles this campaign. Leinster National fourth Ambobo and Hangover look his chief dangers, but Vic Venturi is a confident nap selection.
Jimmy Lambe's Knocklayde Euro was runner-up on his latest outing and attempts to go one better in the beginners' chase, but he might have to give best to Talkin' Tough which gets a hesitant vote after an early fall last time out. Lambe has decent prospects of landing the feature at Wexford with the consistent Hunting Tower getting the nod to edge out Jessica Harrington's No One Tells Me in the Richard Browne & Sons Hurdle.
Arthur Moore should pick up more prize money courtesy of Fever Pitch in the opening maiden hurdle, while Tinahely point-to-point winner Tango Moll can give local trainer Colin Bowe a timely boost by taking the bumper.