Sunday 25 February 2018

Flat track will suit O'Grady's Osana

R Forristal

Willie Mullins' Golden Silver will be all the rage as he bids for a second successive O'Connell Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork tomorrow, but the three-time Grade One winner may not have things all his own way in the two-miler.

His own stable-mate Kempes, which beat China Rock when last seen winning a Grade One at Punchestown in April, will probably need the run over this trip on his seasonal debut, but the likes of Carthalawn, Roberto Goldback and Let Yourself Go will all keep the favourite honest. However, Osana is expected to be the main threat.

While the former Champion Hurdle runner-up has failed to win in seven starts over fences since this time last year, he has been highly tried, and he has never run a bad race in that time.

Indeed, a fourth-placed finish in a Grade One at Punchestown in April was as bad as he has fared since going chasing, and he is expected to get back to winning ways now that he reverts to a flat track.

That may be the key to Osana. Edward O'Grady's eight-year-old tends to race keenly, and consequently doesn't finish his races as strongly as he might.

The even layout at Mallow, one of the easiest winter courses in the country, should help his cause, as will the fact that the keen Let Yourself Go can be expected to do the early running.

Across the water at Huntingdon, Paul Nicholls and Noel Fehily team up with Twist Magic in the rearranged Peterborough Chase.

The partnership will doubtless be difficult to beat, but Twist Magic isn't one to be backing at a short price, and

Kalahari King may represent

better value at around 9/2.

Ferdy Murphy's charge has plenty high-class form to his name, including when third to Big Zeb in the Champion Chase in March, and he will be better for his reappearance effort when third under a big weight at Kelso in November.

Having won his last two completed starts over tomorrow's two-and-a-half-mile trip, the step up from the minimum is also expected to be in his favour.

While it looks a competitive renewal of the Peterborough, many of the 12 runners have questions to answer.

With the always-reliable Graham Lee up, Kalahari King looks the least likely to have his connections searching for excuses afterwards.

Irish Independent

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