Tuesday 21 November 2017

In-form Walsh can collect on Hourigan's The Gatechecker

Mark Walsh is looking to keep his winning momentum going at Limerick this afternoon
Mark Walsh is looking to keep his winning momentum going at Limerick this afternoon
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Mark Walsh has continued where he left off last term and he is tipped to keep his winning momentum going at Limerick this afternoon.

The Kildare native has four decent spins, with the Michael Hourigan-trained The Gatechecker his mount in the featured €15,000 novices' hurdle.

Kala Brandy and Ballycorrigan are two mares that will line up here on the back of a win, though the main threat to the selection could be Ibsen.

Gordon Elliott's charge ran well to be second over an inadequate trip at Ballinrobe last week, so he ought to be thereabouts now that he steps back up to a more suitable distance of two miles and five furlongs.

Still, the suspicion is that The Gatechecker is the best horse in the race.

A five-year-old son of Classic Cliche, he won a point-to-point and bumper in 2014, before scoring at the third time of asking over flights at the same Ballinrobe fixture on May 26.

The Gatechecker won a little more cosily than the short-head margin suggests, so he should have a big say again here if he comes forward a little, and he certainly has the scope to keep progressing.

Of Walsh's other rides, Farriers Gold appeals in the two-mile-three-furlong handicap hurdle. Robert Tyner's eight-year-old ran really well for a long way at Punchestown last time, tiring into sixth over three miles. He seemed to enjoy a bit of good ground on that occasion, so the slight drop in trip here on a similarly decent surface could prove ideal.

Granted, it is a wide-open race, but Farriers Gold looks to have a lot in his favour now.

In the beginners' chase, Elliott's Shadow Catcher is sure to be a big player under Kevin Sexton if he takes to fences.

While Charles Byrnes' Lord Adare is another with the potential to run well should his jumping hold up, the one that might take the beating is Paul Nolan's Is Love Alive.

Bryan Cooper's mount has run just nine times in two years. He won a point-to-point on his debut in 2013 and a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown last year, and he had his first start since Christmas when third behind Flaming Dawn on his chasing debut here last month.

That was over three miles. Given that he travels well and won his hurdle race over two-and-a-half, the drop back to that trip is no great concern now, and he seemed to really enjoy this job last time.

Willie and Patrick Mullins could go close with New Kid In Town in the maiden hurdle. Successful in a Roscommon bumper when last seen a year ago, the Gamut six-year-old stands out a little in this modest heat.

The champion trainer is napped to take the bumper with Avichi, a Yeats three-parts sister to Hurricane Fly that ran well to be seventh for her rider Colin Motherway in what was a decent contest on her Punchestown bow.

Aidan O'Brien's Rosshaven Lady is possibly the main threat to the selection. She kept on to be fifth at Ballinrobe last week, and the trainer's daughter Sarah is riding well, collecting on three of her four rides since then and denied by just a short-head on the other.

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