De Valira has class to see off French raider
This evening's Grade Three novice chase at Roscommon takes on an unexpected international dimension courtesy of a rare French raider.
Patrice Quinton, who trains the four-year-old mare Cathodine Cayras, is seeking to take advantage of the considerable weight allowances for his representative in an effort to enhance her pedigree.
Once a winner in six fencing starts, Cathodine Cayras receives between 10lbs and 15lbs from her eight rivals in the €24,375 contest.
Niall Madden's mount has a chance, but her overall profile suggests that she may not be quite up to winning this two-miler. Following his return to form over half a mile further at Listowel, De Valira, in particular, sets a decent standard.
James Morrissey's nine-year-old came right back to his best in Kerry to beat two subsequent winners, Blazing Beacon and Toomdeely, into second and third. Having been placed in three of his four previous starts, that triumph wasn't before time, and De Valira is strongly fancied to follow up today under Paul Townend.
In the handicap chase, Paradis De Thaix and Pistol Jack are the form horses. When the pair clashed at Listowel, the hat-trick chasing Pistol Jack fell four out before Paradis De Thaix went on to win, and both ought to go close again.
Just preferred, though, is Onzo Mor, a horse that has already won around here in testing going. Successful at Wexford in July, Denis Cullen's charge was keeping on well in second when he fell heavily on fast ground at Tramore last month. Off a light weight, he can atone for that spill now.
The eight-race programme at the Connacht venue gets under way with four Flat heats, and the John Oxx-trained Kasanka looks the pick on the level in the 12-furlong maiden.
Second to Notable Graduate in a decent event back in April, this Galileo half-sister to Oxx's 2006 St Leger heroine Kastoria should love these conditions.
Earlier, Miranda's Girl, a winner here in testing going last month, gets the nod in the Roscommon On Facebook Handicap after a couple of solid turns at Listowel.
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