Wednesday 21 March 2018

Don't write off Chapter at Roscommon

Nap vote: Ger Lyons. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Nap vote: Ger Lyons. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Roscommon returns to the racing scene for 2017 with a mixed card.

An excellent provincial racecourse, Roscommon is used by all of the top trainers, including Ger Lyons. And the Dunsany trainer provides the lock in Chapter Seven in the Kilrane O'Callaghan & Co Solicitors Handicap.

Chapter Seven warmed up for this with an appearance in the charity race at the Punchestown Festival, when partnered by Sheikh Fahad al-Thani. In truth, his form has been a bit hit and miss for Lyons, but this is an ordinary handicap and he ran a blinder a month ago at Naas when beaten around a length and a half.

Remarkable Lady, owned by the Moate-based Nap Racing Syndicate, looks the main threat. Pat Smullen takes the ride.

The auction maiden at the start is the most lucrative race this evening. Act Of Valour can get Smullen off the mark here, though there is not much to pick on form between him, Apparition and Buffalo Blues, which was badly interfered with last time at Limerick.

In the first of the handicaps, we may see a rare Godolphin winner at Roscommon. Raven's Pass filly Heat Of The Day, which seemed a little quirky in all-weather maidens, is a half-sister to Monterosso and Expert Fighter, pretty smart types over similar trips to the one she tackles tonight.

It is not easy for handicap debutantes but there is a suspicion that she will have a bit in hand for the excellent Michael Halford, while Jessica Harrington's incredible run means that Tilly's Chilli has to be feared in a race that looks liable to be dominated by the top half of the ratings band.

The fillies' maiden can see John Murtagh's Chocolate Noir break her duck. This daughter of Yeats seems straightforward and can get a nice lead into the race from Dalmatia, which is a probable leader under Kevin Manning.

The jumpers' action commences with the bumper, the Kepak Flat Race, Noel Meade has a good team here with Calicojack and Mr Showtime, but Willie Mullins may be the one to put faith in now.

Torrent Des Mottes is the champion trainer's only runner this evening and he has sound claims after a nice run over hurdles at Tramore.

One trainer who will be wishing for a change of fortune in the new campaign is Mouse Morris, who endured a frustrating 2016/2017 term and has not had a winner since March 5.

Morris e could bounce back with Catalaunian Fields in the Handicap Steeplechase.

This horse was an easy winner of a staying maiden hurdle for Colm Murphy two years ago so stepping up in yardage is now liable to bring about an improved showing. He might offer some vaue now as he was pulled up over an inadequate distance at Fairyhouse but admittedly he has a bit to prove.

Harrington's best chance on the night looks to be Rock On The Moor in the mares' maiden chase. Her rating of 137 is more than sufficient in this class of combat, while her fifth-place effort in a mares' handicap on latest at the Punchestown Festival was reassuring.

The nightcap is winnable but quite interesting nonetheless. At Rainbow's End could be another one for Robbie Power, Paul Nolan's charge having run a blinder at Kilbeggan and now cheekpieces-aided.

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