Monday 18 December 2017

Take St Stephens Green and then onto Raglan Road

Danny Mullins rides St Stephens Green. Photo: Sportsfile
Danny Mullins rides St Stephens Green. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

The third day of the Fairyhouse National meeting is a bit like the night after the wedding, the refuge of family members and those who don't want the party to quite stop.

The buzz was befitting the Irish National fixture yesterday. It will be more serene this afternoon but you could do worse than double up St Stephens Green and Raglan Road.

St Stephens Green gets the nap vote for young hander Emmet Mullins in the Glascarn Handicap Hurdle, in which 16 are declared and no non-runners will be critical to each-way hunters. This one, by essentially a Flat sire in Diamond Green, gets two miles on the level and was not fully primed when winning on the all-weather recently.

One of his hurdle runs makes for especially interesting reading: his one-length defeat to Heartbreak City at the Galway Festival last July. It hardly looks bad form, considering he was taking on a future Melbourne Cup runner-up!

That Dundalk outing ought to have him spot-on now. He travels with ease in his races and if his jumping holds up under Danny Mullins he has a major chance.

On Raglan Road, trained by Emmet's uncle Willie, has so much going for him in the finale. The Coolmore team can hardly name a bad one after the song for which Luke Kelly is perhaps best recalled; moreover, he is by Walk In The Park, sire of Douvan and Min.

The opener must be a challenger for the longest title in the history of sport - the Flynn Management And Contractors Supporting Ratoath GAA Race Day European Breeders Fund Beginners Steeplechase - and Pyromaniac is a notable one here.

A smart enough handicap hurdler, Tony Martin's charge is getting there over fences, and will appreciate the better ground. He is one to monitor closely in the market.

The two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle is an ordinary contest and the Alan Fleming-trained Harold Peto, which is still not fully convincing at the distance, is given preference to Tamlough Boy, which hails from the in-form Noel Meade barn.

The novice handicap is predictably competitive and it may be prudent to look at the claims of Mon Lino, despite his not being the apparent McManus first-string.

Barry Geraghty would not have done the weight on him in any case, with Mark Walsh taking the steer on what looks a nice prospect for Paul Nolan.

The ground is the question-mark for Mon Lino but his being declared suggests it will not inconvenience.

Geraghty rides Sire Du Berlais, a promising son of Poliglote which would not have been easily assessed by the handicapper.

The Today FM Ladies National Handicap Steeplechase sees some of the best female riders, including conditional champion elect Rachael Blackmore, showcase their talents.

English rider Jodie Hughes has a nice mount in I'm An Izz Wizz, which is trained by Liam Lennon, who works near Newry. This one is in proven form and an excellent jumper.

Mount Colah is a horse of such ability not habitually seen in the BoyleSports Joseph R O'Reilly Hunters Steeplechase, yet stamina could be an issue and Heaney looks value at around the 12/1 at which he was priced last night. The booking of Jamie Codd is notable on a horse which once finished in the money in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham.

Patrick Mullins rides another Walk In The Park in the Joseph O'Brien-trained Dawn In The Park, which is put forward for Gigginstown in the mares' bumper. Her debut offering was encouraging and she may prove the answer, thus providing the rider with a crucial victory in his amateur title battle with Codd.

Irish Independent

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