Thursday 22 February 2018

Handicapper hasn't caught up with 'Informer'

John Kiely: trains Just Janice. Photo: Caroline Norris
John Kiely: trains Just Janice. Photo: Caroline Norris

Wayne Bailey

The Willie Mullins horses are sure to be popular in the market for the Grade Three Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse today (2.45).

But that means there's a chance that some others will go off at higher odds than they should including JUST JANICE, which was chalked up at a nice each-way price of 8/1 early doors yesterday in the 11-runner contest.

Trained by John Kiely (right), the six-year-old was turned out quickly to win two novice races within the space of a few days in late October/early November, the latter being a Grade Three at Down Royal.

Those wins came on the back of a good second place to Drakaina in a decent handicap at Limerick, and the soft-to-heavy conditions won't cause her any trouble.

As mentioned, the Mullins horses will be supported and the one most feared is Laurina, another French recruit which won a mares' maiden hurdle in October on her first start for the yard since leaving Guillaume Macaire.

We've also got graded action from Naas tomorrow, and once again I'm going to take on the likely Mullins favourite Sandsend, which looks a little short around 15/8 for the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle (1.50).

Formerly trained by Francois Nicolle, he was a little keen on his first race for Mullins at Limerick over Christmas and it may take a couple of runs before he finds his swing in Irish company, although he did win his debut race for Nicolle.

Gordon Elliott's DUCA DE THAIX looks a good alternative around 4/1, although he does carry a penalty for winning a Grade Three last time out. He'll also improve with experience, but he beat an odds-on Mullins horse in that race and looks like one for the notebook.

Five runners go to post for the Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase (2.20) and Elliott's Jury Duty will most likely be favourite around 6/4.

He's got a couple of Cheltenham entries and has won two of his four chase starts - but a big enough penalty here might hold him back, and a chance is taken on stablemate MOSSBACK, priced 6/1 at the time of writing.

He won a novice race here in November and was disappointing when third last time out in a Grade Three at Punchestown a couple of weeks ago, but two and-a-half miles was a bit too short, and I suspect we'll see a rejuvenated animal stepped up to the three-mile trip.

Consider backing THE INFORMER around 5/1 in the seven-runner New Owners & Trainers Lounge Novice Handicap Chase (3.50).

Trained by Seamus Fahey, he's up 10lbs for winning a Down Royal handicap chase in stylish fashion in December, but I suspect he's still got more to come over fences, and a racing weight of 10st gives him as good a shout as any.

This is one of those races where practically every horse has a chance, so the price on offer looks quite generous.

Jessica Harrington's Thirsty Work is also worth a mention around 3/1. He was badly hampered in a handicap at Punchestown last time, and had to settle for second.

Finally, I'm going to take a watching brief in the bumper (4.20) with Voix Des Tiep odds-on.

Irish Independent

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