Monday 23 October 2017

In-form Devil's Elbow can prove too hot for rivals

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

DEVIL'S ELBOW appeals as the nap selection in the Lydon House Catering Hurdle on this evening's mixed card at Roscommon.

The Ted Walsh-trained runner faces eight rivals in the two-mile conditions event, but there is little strength in depth among the opposition. Tim Doyle's Quarton may be the pick of the remainder, but that one's recent efforts on the Flat haven't been great.

Devil's Elbow, the mount of Mark Walsh, has been in much better heart. A Downpatrick bumper winner earlier in the summer, he scored in emphatic fashion on his hurdling debut at Ballinrobe in June.

On his only subsequent start, the Zamindar four-year-old ran a fine second to Virgil Earp at Galway. Faced with nothing of that calibre now, he should be hard to beat.

In the two other hurdle races on the seven-race programme, Isobella Blue and Formal Bid are fancied.

Having slammed the subsequent Cork winner Adropaupep by 11 lengths when obliging at Wexford last month, a 10lb penalty may not be enough to stop Tom Foley's Isobella Blue in the Roscommon Hunt Handicap Hurdle.

Formal Bid, which tackles the maiden hurdle, hasn't been nearly as convincing in his two previous tries at the jumping game. However, he achieved his second and third victories of the season on the Flat since his last hurdling start in May, so it's not out of the question that he could still improve under Paul Townend now.

Par Five and Minella Humour may be Formal Bid's most potent threats. Minella Humour, a Gowran Park bumper winner, remains something of an unknown quantity, while Par Five's rating of 102 reads well in the context of this evening's opposition.

In the earlier Flat exchanges, it will be fascinating to see how Magical Cat fares in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Handicap.

This 10-runner heat looks competitive, but Joe Murphy's three-year-old had subsequent winners Haleniya and Black Belt behind when collecting on her second outing at Gowran last month. With just 8st 7lb to carry here off a mark of 76, she is potentially well treated.

Irish Independent

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