Saturday 24 February 2018

Reilly to hit mark for JP

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

The Harvest Festival at Listowel continues with another busy eight-race card this afternoon.

Following yesterday's Kerry National, Guinness is again the day's headline sponsor, this time by way of a slightly less gruelling two-mile handicap hurdle. A field of 13 is set to do battle for the €26,000 prize, with the weights headed by The Bull Hayes, a commanding winner down the road at Killarney three weeks ago.

Barry Geraghty, who takes the reins on Jessica Harrington's five-year-old, is bidding for his third success in four renewals of the race, a feat that the young Curragh handler Paul Deegan will seek to match with Darasal Wane in the seven-furlong TP Walsh Memorial Handicap. Beaten into third over six furlongs on Monday, Darasal Wane had previously scored over seven in heavy going at Roscommon, so he is one that looks sure to appreciate the increasingly testing conditions at the Kerry venue.

Thursday treble

The day's showpiece is an open-looking contest, but Life Of Reilly, one of three JP McManus-owned contenders, is fancied to turn the tables on his Killarney conqueror The Bull Hayes. When the pair met then, the John Kiely-trained Life Of Reilly was having his first start for nearly three months, so he may now be primed to take advantage of a five-pound swing at the weights for a three-and-a-half-length deficit.

In the Kevin McManus Bookmakers Beginners' Chase Son Amix can collect on his fencing debut under Paul Carberry. Proven in heavy ground, Tom Cooper's charge was a 140-rated hurdler and he is the sort that should do well in this sphere.

On the Flat, Dorset Square gets the nod in the FBD Insurance Handicap. While Pat Smullen's mount was well held off this mark at Galway, he returned to form when just short-headed at Tramore last time and is another that handles this type of ground.

Outsider to note

Fairwood Massini should run well at a big price in the Devon Inn Hotel Handicap Hurdle. Placed in his last three outings in maidens, Philip Rothwell's charge has been dropped six pounds since his sole start in a handicap last year, while the claimer Declan Bates takes another seven pounds off his back here.

That leaves Fairwood Massini with just 9st 8lb to carry today so, while he is stepping into the unknown over three miles on heavy ground, he is weighted to run a big race.

First-time blinkers

With Secretary Of State and Mamma Rosa both advertising the benefits of first-time blinkers at Listowel in recent days, it may be worth having an each-way flutter on Terence O'Brien's Witness Belle in the beginners' chase. The former point-to-point winner is the only horse on the card sporting headgear that hasn't worn it before.

Key stat

Of the top dozen Flat jockeys at Listowel that are riding today, Pat Shanahan is the only one with a positive dividend to a level stake. He has returned a healthy 12-point profit and has two rides here, Baby Jock and Lady Of Russian in the opening maidens.

Irish Independent

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