Saturday 14 December 2019

Get Me Out Of Here can hit groove to strike again for O'Neill

Jockey Barry Geraghty and trainer Michael Winters lift the Gold Cup after Rebel Fitz’s victory at Fairyhouse yesterday.
Jockey Barry Geraghty and trainer Michael Winters lift the Gold Cup after Rebel Fitz’s victory at Fairyhouse yesterday.

Clarcam has by far the strongest form credentials, for all that he has only won once in eight hurdle starts. Placed on six other occasions, he was still in front when falling two out at Cheltenham, and then excelled under a patient ride to lead halfway up the run-in at Aintree.

2.45 GRADE THREE TAYTO HURDLE 2M

No blame can be apportioned for the way that Guitar Pete mugged him on the line, so Clarcam is the one to beat. The likes of Indian Icon, Ivan Grozny, Plinth, Gerdago and Lindenhurst bring a similarly respectable level of form to the table, with Kitten Rock's limitations less clear.

Impressive in two soft-ground wins to date, Barry Geraghty's mount is open to improvement.

Verdict: Clarcam has the quality to prevail under Noel Fehily.

3.15 GRADE TWO KEELINGS IRISH STRAWBERRY HURDLE 2M 4F

Jonjo O'Neill's perennial Cheltenham runner-up Get Me Out Of Here won this two years ago. He relishes decent ground, and the form of his narrow Coral Cup defeat has held up well, with the winner Whisper subsequently scoring in Grade One company at Aintree.

Thousand Stars was third in the Liverpool race. Top-rated here, he is a tremendous benchmark performer that emerges best at the weights, though he hasn't won for two years.

Mourad is a similarly capable sort with a poor win ratio, so he will be interesting in first-time blinkers under Katie Walsh.

There is little to choose between the rest on figures, with Busty Brown possibly one with his best days still ahead of him.

Verdict: Get Me Out Of Here is fancied after recapturing his old spark in the Cotswolds.

3.45 RATHBARRY & GLENVIEW STUDS HANDICAP HURDLE 2M 6F

Seefood drops in trip after failing to see out his races at Cheltenham and Aintree. He is also down four pounds in the handicap, with useful claimer Ger Fox taking a further seven off.

Sammy Black is going the opposite way on both counts, while Is Love Alive denied Emperor Of Exmoor to break its maiden at Leopardstown. He's on the up, as is Undertheboardwalk.

Third in a fair Leopardstown chase off 125, Tony Martin's charge is a live player off 119.

Verdict: Undertheboardwalk looks nicely treated on this return to hurdling.

4.20 RACING POST CHAMPION POINT-TO-POINT BUMPER 2M 2F

No track form to go on here. Last year's winning trainer Gordon Elliott relies on point-to-point maiden winners Double Scores and Free Expression, which beat the Hexham bumper runner-up Present Flight at Dromahane in December.

A Sizing Network is another that might figure prominently after enjoying the rub of the green to hack up at Punchestown in February.

Verdict: Free Expression appeals for Nina Carberry in a minefield of a race.

5.35 GRADE THREE JOHN & CHICH FOWLER MEMORIAL MARES' CHASE 2M 4F

Tarla is the most talented mare on duty but far from the most reliable. In five chasing starts, she has won two, fallen twice with races at her mercy and been well beaten at odds-on.

Byerley Babe and Avondhu Lady finished well in front of Tarla at Naas in February. Byerley Babe is a pound better off for a neck defeat to Avondhu Lady there. She wasn't right when well beaten by Caoimhe's Delight at Limerick next time and is unproven on goodish ground.

Caoimhe's Delight and Avondhu Lady also go best on soft ground, though both will be happier back over fences after sub-par hurdle runs.

Nicky Henderson's Une Artiste, held by Byerley Babe at Thurles in January, is five pounds better off now, so must enter calculations.

Verdict: Byerley Babe has the scope to find the required progression to win this.

6.05 BILL CULLEN PREMIER CARS HANDICAP CHASE 2M 6F

Raajih is interesting on his return, as he will be effective on this drying surface, likewise Coolnagorna Giggs. Good Egg and Solstice Knight are former course winners that have run well lately, while Baresi has a first chasing outing since scoring on his Roscommon bow in 2012. Having won off 122 over flights at Naas in the autumn, 123 is far from punitive here.

Terence O'Brien's More Madness has won two of his last four chases, albeit he was disqualified once. Second to National fancy My Murphy at Navan, he is going the right way.

Verdict: Useful claimer Kevin Sexton can get More Madness home in an open contest.

6.35 WEATHERBYS IRELAND

GSB BUMPER 2M

Bosman Rule, a half-brother to the Gold Cup hero Kicking King, has been disappointing.

He has ability, but three second places to date are a slight concern. Sunrae Shadow showed clear promise on its Leopardstown debut when third to Value At Risk.

Windsor Park, second then, toppled Marinero at Leopardstown in January. That was Marinero's first run so he can improve, with the third, Killer Crow, franking the form by winning since. Investmentsuccess, third to Killer Crow at Cork, is another that can do better.

Verdict: Marinero has nap appeal here on his second star for Tony Martin.

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