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Richard Forristal: Sunday service

Outsider to note

The Pier

The Pier is taken to defy double-figure odds in the Woodland Park 100 Club October Handicap at Naas tomorrow. Representing Fethard trainer Joe Murphy and jockey Billy Lee, who are both enjoying decent campaigns, The Pier is one of the few in the 16-runner event that has had a light campaign.

A three-time winner up to a mile and a half last season, he made little impression in two outings in April and May. However, he didn't run during the next five months and seemed a different horse when going down by just a head to Mark Johnston's Realisation at Dundalk last week.

While The Pier has been put up three pounds for that to a mark of 88, there is every reason to believe that he can now pick up where he left off in 2009. At a forecast 10/1, he looks a solid each-way selection.

Sunday Yankee

Cork 3.55 -- Keelaghan

Cork 4.30 -- Sebadee

Naas 5.15 -- The Pier

Naas 5.45 -- Johnny McGeeney

Numbers Game

64 The percentage of the remaining 14 days of the Flat season that Joseph O'Brien stands to miss through suspensions. He is currently out for nine, but three of those are pending appeal.

5.5 Henry de Bromhead's profit to a level stake at Cork, where he has one runner tomorrow. Of the trainers on duty, he is the only one in the top-15 showing a return.

1 Flat jockeys' championship leader Pat Smullen's tally from 31 rides in October as he went in to last night's Dundalk meeting.

Racing Diary

Monday: Plumpton, Pontefract, Windsor.

Tuesday: Exeter, Lingfield (AW),


Wednesday: Navan, Fontwell, Ffos Las, Kempton* (AW), Worcester.

Thursday: Thurles, Brighton, Carlisle, Kempton* (AW), Ludlow.

Friday: Dundalk* (AW), Ayr, Doncaster, Fakenham, Wolverhampton* (AW).

Saturday: Wexford, Aintree, Chepstow, Doncaster, Kempton* (AW), Newbury, Stratford.

Sunday: Galway, Wexford, Aintree, Towcester, Wincanton.

Quote of the week

"I was down at that fence where he made the mistake and I thought I was going to need a new pair of trousers." -- Mouse Morris got a bit of a fright when China Rock crashed through the last fence first time round before going on to win at Punchestown on Thursday.

Three things we learned this week

1 Gold Cups aren't won in October. Last season's Irish Independent Arkle Trophy winner Sizing Europe attempted close to three miles for the first time at Punchestown on Thursday, coming out second best to China Rock. However, the form shouldn't be taken at face value, as Henry de Bromhead's charge looked far from wound up. Sizing Europe always raced keenly over two miles, so the priority was clearly for Andrew Lynch to get him settled in a race that might have proved difficult to do so, given the small field. That tactic also contributed to some less than sharp fencing and it wasn't surprising to hear connections express their satisfaction with the run afterwards.

2 Cashel dairy farmer John Grogan has probably never made a better decision than the one that prompted him to fork out €8,000 for Bratislava in 2005. In four runs on the Flat, 11th was the best the Dr Fong mare managed, and that was in a field of 12. However, something appealed to Grogan about her as a broodmare prospect, and he couldn't have got it more right. A fortnight ago Bratislava's two-year-old brother won a Group One in France and last Saturday her first foal Katla, which Grogan trains because no one else would take her, ran away with a Listed race at York.

3 There's nothing like a jockey with a cause. Shane Hassett, champion conditional last season when Adrian Maguire supplied the lion's share of his winners, has struggled lately and had not ridden for the Cork-based trainer this term until he got the leg up on Golden Kite in the Munster National on Sunday. He made no mistake.

Irish Independent