Saturday 16 December 2017

Kelly's 'Gal' worth following

Jockey Shane Kelly. Photo: PA
Jockey Shane Kelly. Photo: PA

Johnny Ward

Shane Kelly, who has come out the right side of a lengthy ban, can continue his fine Dundalk form by guiding the nap vote to victory this evening.

Based with Michael O'Callaghan, Kelly is realising his potential, riding a double here last week. Take Dreamy Gal to land the fillies' juvenile maiden.

Though neither her first nor most recent run was especially encouraging, she has only tried this surface once. On that occasion, she was second to Winter, which is well-regarded by trainer David Wachman, and this is a modest race.

The feature seven-furlong handicap is one of the more difficult heats of the night. Hat Alnasar could easily give weight and a beating to these. Roachdale House in winning may provide some cheer to Paul Flynn, whose dad passed away last week.

There have been quite a few claimers run at the track of late and Elusive In Paris may take the opener. Strictly based on the figures, he has a little to find, but only a little and he has been extremely solid for John Feane.

Joseph O'Brien will have no shortage of runners here this winter and Udogo can take the Crowne Plaza Jockey & Trainer Awards Handicap under his brother Donnacha: positives abound.

The maiden for older fillies is up for grabs, Adieux is a hopeful pick for Pat Martin, who may also take the nursery with bottom weight Lady Rosebud.

Divided races are the norm so far this winter; as ever, the worst of what is on offer is over-subscribed. Something has to win either half of the sprint handicap; Captain Midnight and Teagan Angel are put forward.

Showpiece

Hennessy weekend commences at Newbury this afternoon, with the showpiece being the Grade Two Bet365 Long Distance Hurdle.

Noel Meade has a rare runner at the Berkshire venue, with his Snow Falcon appealing as an each-way investment.

The six-year-old has made the running in the past but he clearly doesn't need to: at Navan last time, he found more than enough up the hill to win a decent Grade Two contest. The extra distance looks to be in favour of Sean Flanagan's mount.

Clan Des Obeaux could take a fascinating Grade Two Fuller's London Pride Novices' Chase. He has plenty on if One Track Mind takes to fences, but this is hardly a soft touch for Warren Greatex's chase debutant.

One Track Mind, not seen since the Punchestown festival, produced a sparking performance then to beat Jennies Jewel and a laboured Alpha Des Obeaux.

Clan Des Obeaux ought to derive significant benefit from his fourth to Rock The Kasbah at Chepstow. He was well-fancied then and may have gotten involved, only to blunder badly at the last. Sean Bowen takes over.

The big race of the weekend at Newbury, tomorrow's Hennessy, has no Irish runner. Last year's winner Smad Place will head a field of 20, which includes Native River, Theatre Guide, Saphir De Rheu and Un Temps Pour Tout.

Meanwhile, Horse Racing Ireland and SIS says it is "still on course" to introduce sectional timing to all Irish racetracks on January 1, though work remains to be done.

Irish Independent

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