Sunday 17 December 2017

Madeira to grab slice of action

Johnny Ward

GALWAY's madcap festival commences tomorrow, with one of the most significant results of the day expected before a race is run.

At 10.30am, the Turf Club will officially review the decision of its own stewards not to act on the performance of The Real Article at Limerick last Sunday. He is 4/1 favourite for the Galway Hurdle on the back of that narrow loss to Captain Cee Bee.

The Turf Club must reverse or endorse the original conclusion, the outcome having obvious ramifications for the Hurdle market. Betfair punters seem to suspect a fait accompli: the horse has not drifted at all in the exchange market, even though it is conceivable he could be barred from running.

Whatever about The Real Article -- whose presence in the race would greatly augments its intrigue -- finding the Hurdle winner is not easy. It may pay instead to concentrate on one of the handicaps tomorrow evening.

Madeira Classic, to borrow from the rather enigmatic phrasebook of the Irish racecard, is worth a second look in tomorrow's mile-and-a-half handicap. In tipping him, I am something of a prisoner to circumstantial evidence.

His trainer Christy Roche has been enjoying an excellent summer. He tends to be fairly selective about when his horses run and tomorrow evening's race, a €13,000 contest, appeals as being suitable for Madeira Classic.

The Alhaarth-bred showed definite promise over trips that were clearly too short for him in maidens last year. He was backed into 100/30 favourite on his handicap debut at Leopardstown this term over a mile and two furlongs, in which he finished a respectable sixth.

The winner Hayzina was the guts of three stone well-in that day and the race generally worked out quite well. Madeira Classic did not reappear until at Naas on Wednesday, when the trip of a mile was inadequate and he was given a sympathetic ride.

Though he broke smartly, he ended up being last turning in; thereafter, his jockey never got too vigorous. Off a slow pace, he was staying on stoutly at the finish and clearly could have gotten closer than he did to the winner (seven and a quarter lengths).

The horse basically shapes as though he wants tomorrow evening's trip, ought to slip into the race off a low weight and has only had five starts. Naas should have left him primed to run a big race.


Madeira Classic to win at Galway, 1pt win at best morning odds

THE money has come for Limerick hurlers, mainly because of the injury sustained by Dublin's Conal Keaney ahead of today's appetiser at Thurles.

They were arguably overpriced before Keaney's unfortunate accident and one of the chief reasons to oppose Dublin is their moderate goalscoring prowess. Limerick carry more of a threat in that regard -- one bookmaker cut them into 10/11 to net the first major today.

Another rival firm still offers 5/4 about the Treaty netting first and that looks long. The price should arguably be around evens.


Limerick to score first goal v Dublin, 1pt at 5/4 (Boylesports)

GIVEN the budgetary rationalisation that took over in the League Of Ireland after the economic collapse, our clubs' performances in Europe have been laudable. St Pat's have already gotten through two rounds of the Europa League, while Shamrock Rovers booked a clash with FC Copenhagen in the Champions' League.

Rovers' away record in Europe under Mick O'Neill is played three, conceded once -- following a moment of genius from Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero -- and they can frustrate their Danish hosts. The Betfair market is not fully liquid yet but a lay of Copenhagen half-time/full-time at around 4/9 is advised.


Lay Copenhagen half-time/full-time v Shamrock Rovers, 2pts at 1.45 approx (0.9pt liability, Betfair)

Year to date

Profit/loss to €10 stake: -€120.57

Still running: €175

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