Thursday 12 December 2019

Meade relief as rain opens door for Realt

Damien McElroy

The forecast of rain in Galway yesterday proved accurate, with the break in the weather a timely change ahead of both tomorrow's session and Monday's Bank Holiday card that brings another remarkably buoyant season at Ballybrit to a close.

Fears that the advance going of good, good to firm in places would prevail and lead to watering to ensure a safe surface for their mainly jumping schedule were allayed when manager John Moloney reported from the track in the afternoon: "We've had five millimetres so far and it's still raining. If we get double that amount by morning, I'd imagine we will be calling it good all round."

That scenario will be something of a relief to trainers such as former champion Noel Meade, who was anxious for some rain to materialise that would allow him saddle impressive Navan winner Realt Dubh along with Darceys Dancer in tomorrow's highlight.

While the latter has paid his way already over fences with a Gowran Park success and a Punchestown second to Loosen My Load, Realt Dubh would lend a real touch of class to the small turnout for the Grade Three Barna Waste Ballybrit Novice Chase.

The Beneficial six-year-old, highly regarded by Meade, made a smooth transition to the larger obstacles when proving too speedy for Sweeps Hill and Venalmar over two and a half miles in Navan last month.

Dropping back by three furlongs should not compromise the chances of Paul Carberry's mount and they are confidently taken to prevent Head Of The Posse, a stablemate of Sweeps Hill, completing his hat-trick over obstacles.

Dungarvan trainer John Kiely, who handles that pair for JP McManus, also brings Life Of Reilly there tomorrow as this less exposed recruit to the owner's numerous team bids to erase the memory of an early Ballinrobe exit last May.

Kiely's charge started favourite for a contest at the Mayo venue in which Cyborg landed a gamble for the Charles Byrnes yard and, barring a similar mishap, should be a factor in the CCTV Venue Control Maiden Hurdle.

While Tom Cooper's well-backed Listowel bumper scorer The Shepherd King comes into the equation as well on his hurdling debut, the spoils could go instead to 119-rated Start Me Up after an improved Punchestown showing when only pipped late by Inspector Clouseau.

The McManus colours, however, are likely to be seen in the winner's enclosure after the opening Corrib Oil Maiden Hurdle that commemorates the ill-fated Athlone rider Sean Cleary, with Easily Pleased and One Fine Morning among the prime fancies.

The better going they run on here might tilt the balance towards Easily Pleased, which acquitted himself well against Laughing Boy at Listowel.

In the money at Cork last Sunday and previously in Sligo respectively, Lend A Hand Son and Peak Raider are suggested as likely solutions for investors to the trappy handicaps that comprise the second and final legs of the Jackpot.

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