Monday 9 December 2019

Ruby can guide Abbey to victory in finale

Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Trainer Aidan O'Brien

Thomas Kelly

An all-jumps card at Ballinrobe this evening presents Aidan O'Brien's Plinth with a fairly simple opportunity to record his second triumph over hurdles.

The JP McManus-owned gelding has run in most of the top juvenile contests during the spring, and if he repeats his second to Abbyssial at Punchestown, Robbie Power's mount should have little difficulty in overcoming Gordon Elliott's Ningbo Express.

O'Brien and Power also link up with King Leon in the maiden hurdle over two and a half miles. This five-year-old has been running consistently in bumpers but has proven a bit one-paced in a finish and a better option may well be Keppols Queen.

Jessica Harrington's mare made a highly promising debut when runner-up to Lord Adare in a Limerick maiden hurdle before running poorly at Cork. With a hood now fitted, it's highly likely she will put her best foot forward and she gets the nod over King Leon and Most Peculiar from Willie Mullins' yard.

The feature event on the card is the inaugural running of the McHale Mayo National Chase in which Peter Fahey's Pride Of The Artic shoulders top weight. This is a highly competitive contest and a sporting wager is suggested on the lightly weighted reserve, The Bishop Looney, whose connections will be hoping for a couple of withdrawals.

The closing beginners chase is probably the most interesting race of the night and one final chance is given to Abbey Lane which has so far failed to transfer his smart hurdles' form to the larger obstacles. Fourth to Some Tikket in a decent handicap at Fairyhouse, Ruby Walsh's mount is taken to get the better of Clonbanan Lad and Il Fenomeno.

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