Thursday 22 March 2018

Days can jump his way to Roscommon spoils

Damien McElroy

Galway form could hold the key to the outcome of the opening hurdles events at Roscommon this evening when, on similar lively ground, Flat scorer Days Ahead and Northern Rocker, which was third in the opening race of the week in Ballybrit, are back in action.

Days Ahead was a snug winner of a Flat handicap over an extended mile last Friday evening for Kilkenny trainer Eoin Doyle, who has his team in tip-top order at the moment, and his great ally Shay Barry takes over the reins now for the gelding's jumping debut.

While it's anyone's guess how these newcomers to the National Hunt arena will react to the challenge, Days Ahead clearly comes here in fine fettle and may have the pace to follow up last weekend's success at the expense of Silas Mariner and Magnetic Force.

The following Dysart Maiden Hurdle appears to largely feature a rematch between Andy Slattery's Northern Rocker and Paintmaker from the Jessica Harrington yard, which were third and fourth in a stronger-looking Galway affair to Force Of Habit and Hail Caesar.

While Paintmaker was in the mix for a long way at Ballybrit and should be in the money again, Northern Rocker did his best work at the finish there in a manner that suggested the stiff enough climb to the Roscommon line could be ideal for Davy Russell's mount.


The JF Hanley Handicap Hurdle that kicks off the Jackpot will put the emphasis on stamina and that scenario is unlikely to faze Pat Martin's top weight Irish Poli, on which Andrew Thornton produced fast and late to see off the opposition at Kilbeggan.

Dangers abound, however, in a typically competitive race as both Third Level Tom and All Noble are already proven at three miles and Dream Champion, which has been mixing it on the level, over fences and hurdles for Tony Martin, has a live chance as well.

Later on, the Connaught Beginners Chase appears to provide a splendid opportunity for Rare Commodity to get back on the winning trail on behalf of the Edward O'Grady-Andrew McNamara partnership, despite that final-fence tumble at Tipperary.

Although giving vain chase to Glenstal Abbey at the time of that exit, the six-year-old previously registered back-to-back wins, is proven at this evening's venue and seems to be at his best on the lively terrain that's unlikely to be altered by any light showers overnight.

Apart from this likely favourite, The Tartan Army has been shaping like a future winner this season; Ballymac Beauty, which is in the money regularly, can be relied upon to run her race again, and Macs Mandalus and Chaussettes are experienced chasers.

Finally the bumper, which Willie and Patrick Mullins won 12 months ago with Dare To Doubt, could feature a repeat dose for this champion alliance as Earls Quarter, third on debut in a hot Punchestown race, is napped to defeat the long-absent Tistobesure.

Irish Independent

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