Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 25 February 2018

Express can deliver glory for Mullins

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Following a fine fourth in the Galway Plate, Hampshire Express can add a touch of quality to the closing day of Tramore's August Festival tomorrow.

Willie Mullins has found the eight-year-old a fine opportunity in the O'Shea's Hotel Chase to record a first win since scoring on his chasing debut at Thurles in November. Credit Box and Fort George bring winning form into the conditions event, but both are less experienced novices that come out poorly at the weights with the selection.

On his current hurdle mark, Credit Box is a massive 41lbs lower rated than Hampshire Express and Paul Townend's mount is 12lbs superior to Fort George on chasing figures. Tomorrow, though, Hampshire Express must concede just 7lbs to the latter, while Credit Box receives a mere 10lbs.

All told, Hampshire Express' profile suggests that he is classy enough to take advantage. With just five starts to his name over fences, he remains unexposed.

In the Heinz Pollmeier Memorial Handicap Chase, Jamsie Hall can atone for a couple of luckless efforts last week under Davy Condon, who might also collect on Separate Ways in the two-mile handicap hurdle. Ostensibly disappointing since going jumping, David Marnane's representative may not be badly treated off 102.

Certainly on a line through Shabra Charity, which he was five lengths behind at Down Royal in June, he is weighted to go close. Having conceded no less than 18lbs to that one in the North, Separate Ways is 12lbs better off here.

In the beginners' chase, Native Palm gets the nod. Consistent if unspectacular over flights, the five-year-old did plenty right when second on his first stab at fencing at Galway. Although beaten by an unknown quantity in Venture Lazarus, he is worth keeping on side for now.

On a busy all-weather card at Dundalk tomorrow, Calm Bay strikes as a decent option in the LMFM Race. Harry Rogers' gelding reserves his best for the Co Louth venue, with both of his career triumphs coming there.


He has generally been in good form on the turf in recent months and is favoured by the weights in tomorrow's five-furlong conditions heat.

And of his six rivals, only Song Of Time comes out better, however that one hasn't run for more than a year, so Pat Smullen's mount could be difficult to pass if he gets the run of the race.

Later on, Creekside is interesting in the 10-furlong handicap. Having won well off a mark of 100 at Leopardstown in June, it is unusual that the assessor has elected to drop him back down to that mark so promptly, not least because neither of the races that he has contested in the meantime were handicaps.

Irish Independent

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