Outsider to note - Brosna Val
The Winningwaysracing.ie Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown tomorrow is a wide-open affair. A total of 22 runners are set to go to post for the two-and-a-half-mile contest, with a full 30lb spread in the weights from top to bottom.
On his first outing in a handicap, Brosna Val is worth a speculative each-way interest at the forecast 25/1.
Due to be ridden for a first time by the in-form Niall Madden, Brosna Val gets into the €15,500 event off just 10st 2lb.
Although he is yet to win a race, the Paul Gilligan-trained runner has shown a modest level of ability in maiden hurdles, and he is open to progression at just five years old.
With no great strength in depth despite the large field, Brosna Val may be the type to improve past a few now that he steps into handicap company.
Leopardstown 1.45 - Zaarito
Leopardstown 2.45 - Solwhit
Leopardstown 3.50 - Brosna Val
Limerick 4.00 - Echo Bob
62 -- The percentage drop in Irish bloodstock sales over the past two years.
€6 -- What a man-sized portion of sausages and mash will set you back in the ground level food hall at Leopardstown.
2 -- Tony McCoy's number of Lester Award nominations for 2010. His haul already stands at 14.
Quote of the week
"For anyone to ride 1,000 British jumps winners is a fantastic achievement, but to overcome the problems that he has had and come out the other end is something special." - Paul Nicholls on Timmy Murphy's landmark achievement on Thursday.
Three things we
learned this week
1 It's time for the authorities to put theory into practice. At HRI's awards ceremony in December 2008, the chief executive Brian Kavanagh spoke of a need for racing to become "truly self-financing, as it is in most other countries". Acknowledging the demands on government funding, he proposed that "a meaningful levy on betting, including all off-shore internet and telephone betting" was the way forward. Since then, industry figures have continued to plummet, the 1pc levy on Irish bookmakers is unchanged, off-shore operators remain out of the loop, and a dispute between HRI and Betfair saw the betting exchange withdraw its pledge to contribute €4.5m to Irish racing over three years. This week, with the official release of the annual statistics for 2009, Kavanagh repeated, word for word, the above offerings. Action is what's required now.
2 Jimmy Mangan for the big day. The unassuming Conna man added the Thyestes Chase to his hit list on Thursday. Having landed touches with Stroll Home in the Galway Plate in 1997 and with Monty's Pass in the Aintree Grand National in 2003, Mangan was due another major coup. Backed from 14/1 in to 5/1, Whinstone Boy delivered in style, the grand Thyestes trophy Leeside-bound for a third successive year. It's no wonder Mangan was photographed afterwards trying to lamp one on the cheek of the handicapper Noel O'Brien.
3 War Of Attrition for the Grand National. Scratched from the race at the 11th hour after a gamble had gathered momentum last April, the 2006 Gold Cup hero vindicated Mouse Morris' decision to bring him back for one more go by showing his rivals a clean pair of heels over hurdles on Thursday.
Monday: Fontwell, Lingfield, Newcastle, Wolverhampton (AW)
Tuesday: Leicester, Sedgefield, Southwell (AW)
Wednesday: Navan, Huntingdon, Kempton* (AW), Lingfield (AW), Musselburgh
Thursday: Thurles, Ffos Las, Kempton* (AW), Southwell (AW), Warwick
Friday: Doncaster, Lingfield (AW), Newbury, Wolverhampton* (AW)
Saturday: Fairyhouse, Cheltenham, Doncaster, Lingfield (AW), Uttoxeter
Sunday: Limerick, Punchestown, Hereford, Kempton (AW)