Thursday 21 November 2019

Enigma Dogora can solve puzzle at Leopardstown

Weighing room starlet Jonathan Burke
Weighing room starlet Jonathan Burke

Aisling Crowe

Boylesports should have no trouble clawing back the sponsorship money for the two devilishly difficult handicaps they put their name to at Leopardstown this afternoon, assuming the meeting survives a precautionary 8.00am inspection.

Between the chase and hurdle, €200,000 in prize money is to be divvied out and with wallets running on empty and hair shirts the fashion for January, trainers have been tempted to chase the big pots at the end of Leopardstown's rainbow.

First of the fiendish puzzles to solve is the 2m 5f handicap chase. Last year's winner He'llberemembered returns seeking back-to-back successes. A year older and with six pounds more to carry, it is a trickier proposition. However, he has the assistance of weighing room starlet Jonathan Burke and won over hurdles at Punchestown on New Year's Eve.

To increase the level of difficulty, there is the enigma that is Dogora. A faller in the Hennessy at Newbury, Willie Mullins clearly felt he was up to the task that day. Only a six-year-old and with just 10-11 on his back, if he brought his A game, then Ruby Walsh could be celebrating.

AP McCoy flies in to ride Byerley Babe for JP McManus and Robert Tyner. Blinkered for the first time, she is the winner of a graded chase and was third in a similar event to this at Fairyhouse last time out. McCoy may have picked the wrong horse as his boss has the Arthur Moore-trained Fever Pitch among his team for this race. He has won two and been placed four times in his last six starts and his second place behind Mount Colah at Navan before Christmas hinted that a race like this would be within his grasp. David Casey knows him well and with only 9-12 to lug around the track, he should give his supporters a run for their money.

Conditions should be ideal for bottom weight Forty Foot Tom in the 2m handicap hurdle. His last two runs have been amongst his best and his victory on sodden ground here during the Christmas festival, while over fences, provides plenty of encouragement.

Nicky Henderson's nerves will be shot after Sprinter Sacre yesterday, but Snake Eyes could be a nice relaxant for him. Sixth in the race last year to the hugely exciting Gilgamboa, he only has two pounds more to carry despite a listed race success at Sandown last month. If he is as well treated as that suggests, then the handicap is at his mercy. McCoy's deputy Mark Walsh has a decent prospect of adding to his recent run of success with Shantou Ed, trained by Pat Fahy for JP McManus.

Vautour makes his plea for atonement in the Grade Two Killiney Novice Chase after proving a let-down on St Stephen's Day. His act of contrition should be successful with a hugely disappointing two rivals taking on the artist formerly known as Pegasus. When Vautour was suffering from his Christmas hangover, finishing a disappointing third behind Clarcam in the Racing Post Novice Chase here on December 26, Real Steal couldn't manage to get within 13 lengths of him.

Under normal circumstances, Aladdin's Cave would need the genie to grant him a wish to win this race, so if Vautour is back to himself, redemption should be his this afternoon.

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