Make A Track for 'Wilderness' spoils
MAKE A TRACK is fancied to outpoint the Kerry National hero White Star Line when he reappears for a first time in nearly 12 months in the Wilderness Chase at Clonmel today.
Prior to his Listowel victory, the nine-year-old White Star Line, whose popular owner Patsy Byrne has sadly since passed away, had won just once in 20 starts.
For all that he has a touch of class, he often simply finds one or two too good and Make A Track has the potential to reduce him to the role of bridesmaid again in this two-and-a-half-mile conditions race.
As a novice hurdler, Charlie Swan's Gigginstown Stud-owned seven-year-old ran well in valuable handicaps, notably when fourth off a mark of 134 at Cheltenham.
A close second to Texas Jack on his fencing debut at Naas a year ago, Make A Track then won a decent beginners' event at Thurles.
That being his last run, he obviously lacks a bit of experience and race-fitness here. Still, given that White Star Line is a more exposed individual that secured his finest achievement off a rating of 130, Davy Russell's progressive mount should prevail.
Becauseicouldntsee and Ros Brin complete the line-up for the €15,000 feature, but victory for either would constitute a shock of sorts.
In the subsequent Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares' Beginners' Chase, Speckled Wood warrants the nap vote for Christy Roche and Alan Crowe.
A High Chaparral daughter of JP McManus' brilliant race-mare Like-A-Butterfly, the dual hurdle winner ran and jumped nicely when tiring into fourth on her first stab at fences at Sligo recently.
She will strip fitter now, and the step up to two and a half miles should suit. With 15 rivals, Speckled Wood faces a lot of serious competition, but the suspicion is that none of the others will possess quite as much quality.
McManus' silks might also grace the winner's enclosure courtesy of Edward O'Grady's useful bumper performer Gallant Tipp in the two-mile maiden hurdle, while Robert Tyner and Philip Enright could take the opening mares' edition over a half a mile further with County Champions.
Successful in a point-to-point and bumper in testing conditions already, this five-year-old looks ready made for what should be a fairly dour assignment.