Tuesday 23 January 2018

Mutahadee to strike for Stack

Johnny Ward

THE portents for British racing became all the more glum midweek and one wonders how bad things can get.

Levy Board support for prizemoney in 2012 could well be less than £30m. Two years ago, it was £64m. Betting patterns are changing but racing is suffering and, with the purses on offer for winning a race in Britain downright derisory much of the time as it is, one wonders how the cuts will leave next season's fixture list.

Imagine being an owner of a winner. What a joyous day! Then, when the bill for the month's training fees comes round, it dawns that the proceeds of that win cannot even cover it. This is common-place in the UK.

One cannot be too confident about the future in Ireland but The Curragh and its glittering card today advertises the relative health of the present. The Group Two Royal Whip Stakes has a purse of €95,000 and Mutahadee is worthy of support.

The favourite is almost certain to be Banimpire, which has already run eight times this season. It will catch up with her at some stage and astute handicapper Gary O'Gorman rates her just six pounds better than Mutahadee. Mutahadee runs off level weights with Banimpire, despite her fillies' allowance (three pounds), while he is also having just his third career run. There should therefore be every chance of him putting it up to her.

The Tommy Stack-trained colt won a maiden on the all-weather in the manner of a smart horse last year, when rider Wayne Lordan was quick to stress that the horse was "massive . . . we were afraid he would be too green".

That signalled a fruitful three-year-old campaign and, on his sole start so far at Naas last month, Mutahadee was beaten a short head by Duff, rated 102. The muddling pace over a mile was against him.

The extra quarter-mile is nearly certain to suit the son of Encosta De Lago, he is trained by a really shrewd operator and has the potential to be high-class. At the tissue price of 7/1, he appeals in a six-runner contest.

RECOMMENDATION

Mutahadee to win Royal Whip, 1pt win at best morning odds

PUNDITS have been writing Arsenal off, perhaps forgetting how close they came to being really close to winning the title last year.

Their capitulation was remarkable, but note that they should have also won the Carling Cup and nearly snared a result against Barcelona in the Champions League. There were many positives. They scored more goals in the league than anyone bar Manchester United and it was notable how keen they seemed to be to win the Carling Cup. Arsene Wenger needs a trophy of some description and the Gunners appeal at 4/1 to achieve the wishes of the Frenchman.

Arsenal were considerably shorter than that just to win the league last season for a spell. The hope is that they can hold onto Fabregas and, to a lesser extent, Nasri.

RECOMMENDATION

Arsenal to win a major trophy this season, 2pts at 4/1 (VC)

WATERFORD restored pride with their win over Galway in Thurles and they will go into today's meeting with Kilkenny with little to lose.

They could lose the match, but nearly everybody says that will happen anyway. Kilkenny have been starved of competitive hurling, whereas Waterford played without fear against Galway.

Galway's collapse was dramatic and much of the media commentary focused on that, rather than the exceptional Waterford effort. Kilkenny are no certainties today and, even if they win, they will do well to get within five points of Tipperary next month.

RECOMMENDATION

Lay Kilkenny to win All-Ireland SHC, 1pt at 2.3 approx (1.3pt liability, Betfair)

YEAR TO DATE

Profit/loss to €10 stake: -€191.57

Still running: €155

valuebet@independent.ie

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