Wednesday 22 November 2017

Elliott's Bayan bids to roll back the years at Harvest Festival

At The Races’ Gary O’Brien is quietly confident of a big run ahead of the €20,000 Behans Horseshoe Bar & Restaurant Handicap today. Photo: Getty Images
At The Races’ Gary O’Brien is quietly confident of a big run ahead of the €20,000 Behans Horseshoe Bar & Restaurant Handicap today. Photo: Getty Images

Johnny Ward

It is hard to believe that Bayan, which numbered Listowel's Lartigue Hurdle as one of his biggest career wins, is still only eight years of age.

Second in the Galway Hurdle as a five-year-old, he has been an excellent servant for a syndicate that includes At The Races' Gary O'Brien, who is quietly confident of a big run ahead of the €20,000 Behans Horseshoe Bar & Restaurant Handicap today.

"It was a good run the last day in a better race than this. No horse might want it this heavy but he does cope well and we are hopeful. He's been a wonderful horse to own," said O'Brien.

But for a tendon injury, Bayan would have won more races, and he could make up for lost time off 75, but Gavin Cromwell's Highland Fling is narrowly preferred.

A hood ought to help Kupa River, which has raced keenly, in the opener, and he can provide Patrick Prendergast with another Harvest Festival winner.

Intense Stylist looks thrown-in in theory in the Byrne Family Handicap after her maiden win midweek, though a draw of 15 will not help Keith Moriarty, Albert's son.

The MAC Fuels & General Supplies Maiden is notable in that Dermot Weld attaches blinkers to Solo Saxophone, a Frankel progeny which was a promising third on both starts, but Cromwell's Johnny Carney might be a value alternative under Ronan Whelan.

There are some good Jumps contests, before which Coquin Mans reverts to the level for Willie and Patrick Mullins in the rated race. He is a smart sort which should win this in a canter.

The Kevin McManus Beginners Steeplechase could be a bit more competitive, given the decent purse, but looks a nice opportunity for Exactoris. This six-year-old returns from a break for Joseph O'Brien and looks the best horse in the race if he is sufficiently fit.

Testing

The big race is the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle. Mullins has two runners, Ruby Walsh riding Lagostovegas and Danny Mullins aboard Timi Roli, which just may come to life now over this trip on very testing ground with only 9st 10lbs on his back.

Timi Roli runs in the Hurricane Fly colours and, while he has not set the world alight, Mullins' second-strings can offer each-way value in races such as this one.

He can nail a treble as Ben Button is fancied to complete the hat-trick in the Devon Inn Handicap Hurdle. While the handicapper has had his say after the gelding's Galway and Sligo wins, there is more to come in all likelihood from a seven-year-old that Mullins only acquired relatively recently.

Irish Independent

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