Thursday 18 January 2018

D'Honneur the answer to Dan Moore puzzle

Jockey Barry Geraghty. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Jockey Barry Geraghty. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Fairyhouse's Bar One Racing Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase, which honours the trainer of L'Escargot, is one of the more iconic two-mile handicaps run in Ireland.

Tomorrow's offering is no let-down and has a dollop of class in the form of Days Hotel, a Grade Two winner less than a year ago. If he can produce his A-game, he has or had the ability to give the weight away.

However, it often pays to follow a maxim in jumps racing: if in doubt, back Willie Mullins. His representative, Jarry D'Honneur, is hardly obvious on form, but his Leopardstown run at Christmas was much better than his Fairyhouse effort previously - that after a long absence from the track.

Only three runs ago, the French-bred oozed class in a novice win at Navan. Likely he is coming to hand now.

Perhaps Ball D'arc, ahead of the selection last time, will head the market. That said, he seemed to have no excuses then and does not appear to offer much value. Leap Dearg, shouldering just 10st 4lb - including the classy Paul Townend - could outrun his odds.

Otherwise, the Fairyhouse offering is nothing special. The opening mares' maiden hurdle sees Leopardstown runner-up Barra tussle with Kate Appleby Shoes, one of a seemingly never-ending list of pages in the Gordon Elliott versus Willie Mullins book of this season. Barra is readily preferred, given the mistakes that peppered the Mullins mare's Limerick return.

The juveniles' maiden hurdle makes little punting appeal. Riding arrangements suggest triple-handed Joseph O'Brien's main hope is A Year To Remember, which seemed to put stamina doubts to bed when easy to back a fortnight ago.

Not only does Danny Mullins steer mother Mags' steeds at the track, he is a vital worker in the barn and has been key to the progress of Logical Song this term.

The eight-year-old may have more to give and, despite top weight, has a decent chance of a third win this season in the Madden Raparees GAA Club Fundraising Handicap Hurdle.

JP McManus' main rider, Barry Geraghty, should have a winner or two at the Ratoath track. He picks Ballyoisin in the maiden chase and the six-year-old is one of the more appealing wagers on the card. Enda Bolger's Presenting-bred was having just his third start at the track when a 7/1 faller at this course on New Year's Day.

Presumably the ex-pointer was never going to be wasted hurdling - he only tried that twice, looking very promising and winning a 20-runner Navan maiden by 11 lengths as a four-year-old.

Ballyoisin could have been awarded the lock of the day but that nod goes to Goulane Chosen, which may be a good each-way play in the novice chase, given his rather unfashionable connections. For his ability, his win record of one from 23 is dire, but he has been placed on numerous occasions and he was running a big race when hitting the deck at Navan.

Willie Mullins has no horse in the bumper. This looks an opportunity for Oakley Hall, a son of Milan which has the help of Jamie Codd. It can edge Gordon Elliott a little further clear in a captivating title tussle that will likely go all the way to the Punchestown festival.

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