Thursday 18 January 2018

Kirks Ryker can be enterprising choice

Trainer Mick Halford
Trainer Mick Halford
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Kirks Ryker is a tentative nap on a difficult afternoon of bank holiday activity at Listowel and Kilbeggan tomorrow.

Mick Halford's Selkirk three-year-old contests a mile maiden at the north Co Kerry venue. It is an open affair, with Tommy Stack's Love Rosie and Dermot Weld's Sight Hound having also shown plenty of ability already.

Sight Hound, third to Novis Adventus at Naas over 10 furlongs, arguably has the best form. However, he is dropping in trip, and, while the deep ground will counter that, Kirks Ryker's overall profile is more attractive.

On his debut behind Cradle Mountain at Naas last month, he caught the eye when staying on to be seventh in what wasn't a bad race of its type.

He then improved to be third behind Buyer Beware on soft ground at Killarney, when his stable-mate Ashoka flashed home late to deny him second.

In fairness, though, Kirks Ryker kept on well, and the two that finished in front of him have since gone on to hold up the form. If Conor Hoban's mount - Halford's only runner at the meeting - runs to a similar level or better here, then he could prove hard to beat.

In the preceding seven-furlong handicap, the Andy Oliver-trained Fashion Forward ought to defy the five-pound penalty that she must carry for scoring at Fairyhouse on Thursday.

Stepping up to this trip for a first time on that occasion, the Manduro filly improved considerably on what she had shown in three starts in maidens, so it's fair to assume that she is still well handicapped now.

If that is the case, Chris Hayes might not have too hard a time of things, because this is a moderate affair. Hayes might also go close on John Joe Walsh's Never Again in the mile handicap.

This is a more competitive heat despite there being a smaller field of nine. Willie Mullins' ready Gowran Park winner Laviniad is sure to have a big say under a five-pound penalty and John Murphy's Seaforth, which finished second to Ringside Humour at the same fixture on Wednesday, is another to consider.

Still, Never Again showed her liking for testing conditions when getting up at Cork in April, and more recently when staying on purposefully to be a close third behind Sacrificial at Killarney.

She is four pounds out of the handicap, but is an unexposed sort that might still have that much in hand.

At Kilbeggan, Michael Bowe's recent course winner Aunt Alice can shade what is a decent mares' hurdle. Daisy's Gift, Star Counsel and Duckweed are all feared, but the selection might be the one with most in her favour here.

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