Friday 19 January 2018

Clonmel off as cold snap plays havoc with fixtures

Shane Donohoe
Shane Donohoe
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

This afternoon's scheduled Clonmel fixture has been postponed until next Tuesday, but Irish racing fans will still get a fix of sorts with raiders in action at contrasting Flat venues in Meydan and Wolverhampton.

A decision was made following yesterday morning's inspection that the frost wasn't lifting sufficiently quickly at the Tipperary venue for today's meeting, and its transfer means that there will be jump racing on three successive days next week. Yesterday's Down Royal programme had already been switched to Wednesday, with Thurles set to race on Thursday.

Today's Doncaster fixture has also fallen to the cold snap, though officials at Taunton and Huntingdon are hopeful that morning inspections will give them the all-clear. There will be a noon check at Doncaster ahead of its intended card tomorrow.

Of the quartet of Irish-trained runners on duty at Wolverhampton, Shane Donohoe's Etaad might be the likeliest winner. Cavan-based Donohoe saddles Eretara in the same seven-furlong apprentices' handicap, with Bussa debuting for Letterkenny handler Emmet Butterly after a year off.

Etaad has shown glimpses of form since joining Donohoe last year, most notably when beaten five lengths here off a mark of 53 over 12 furlongs in December. He is four pounds lower now, so he has a chance in first-time blinkers if he copes with the drop in trip under Shane Gray.

Eugene O'Sullivan's decision to send over Habesh for the concluding 12-furlong handicap is also of note. O'Sullivan has never had a British Flat runner before, but he has booked Robert Winston for the versatile Habesh, which would certainly have a live squeak on its best form.

In more sumptuous surroundings in Dubai, Mick Halford and Shane Foley team up for last-time-out Dundalk winners Kernoff and Wychwood Warrior. The latter looks up against it from a wide draw, but Kernoff has an each-way life in the opening six-furlong handicap.

Irish Independent

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