Friday 18 January 2019

'Force' with Mullins charge at Clonmel

Thrilling finish in Irish Grand National Photo: Stock image
Thrilling finish in Irish Grand National Photo: Stock image

Thomas Kelly

Impressive Fairyhouse winner Force Of Forces takes a step up in class in the Irish Stallions Farms EBF Novice Hurdle at Clonmel today.

The Willie Mullins-trained gelding blew away his opposition by 19 lengths on his second outing for the yard last month.

He faces a stiffer task now and steps up another two furlongs having won over two-and-a-half miles last time.

The French-bred has shown marked improvement since joining the ranks at Closutton and connections will be hoping he can continue on an upward curve. The Gordon Elliott-trained Gun Digger looks to set the standard in the race with an official rating of 130.

Gigginstown's Stowaway gelding was left to chase home Blow By Blow in Grade Three company at Thurles last month and that form got a boost at Cheltenham when the winner landed the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

The former point-to-pointer steps up to two-miles six-furlongs for the first time over timber and looks a major player.

High Sparrow has won both his 'track' starts since graduating from point-to-points and he looks another that has to come into calculations in a competitive five-runner contest.

Mullins introduces an interesting newcomer in the opener in the shape of Poly Rock.

The French-bred makes a belated debut in the two-mile maiden hurdle at the age of seven and wouldn't need to be one of the yard's star performers to make a winning start.

He was a relatively cheap buy for the yard when purchased at the Goffs Land Rover Sale in 2014 for €22,000.

The consistent Allardyce looks to set the standard of those that have run and has an official mark of 114.

Read more: A training first for Delcros, and a four-timer for Elliott

The following mares maiden hurdle looks a more competitive event and Awayinthewest will be fancied to get her head in front.

She ran a fine race on her return to action when chasing home Lareena at Thurles 12 days ago and a repeat may be enough to make the breakthrough over timber now.

Meanwhile, both meetings in Ireland which were lost to snow on Sunday have been rescheduled for later this week.

Limerick, which was fine to race on yesterday, will now stage Sunday's card tomorrow.

The meeting at Navan, which was set to feature the Grade Two Webster Cup, will now take place on Friday.

However, the Grade Three Flyingbolt Novice Chase has been deleted from the programme and the Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase at Thurles on Saturday will now be run over two miles and two furlongs.

Irish Independent

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