Monday 18 December 2017

'Scoundrel' looks smashing bet at Punchestown

Rolling Revenge ridden by Mark Walsh (left) clears the last on the way to winning at Punchestown Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Rolling Revenge ridden by Mark Walsh (left) clears the last on the way to winning at Punchestown Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Johnny Ward

Smashing has his first spin for Mouse Morris in today's Grade Three Irish Daily Star Chase, the grey having left Henry de Bromhead.

With all those Gigginstown horses having departed Willie Mullins, racing fans might be forgiven for forgetting that the Alan Potts-owned jumpers who left Henry de Bromhead also had to move home and Smashing is the most notable of them all.

He has never gone as far as today's three miles and a furlong and likes proper winter ground. An exuberant sort, he seems to race a little on his nerves; Morris also forecasts that he will do better for the outing.

As such, preference is for the Galway Plate winner, Lord Scoundrel. Somewhat unheralded last term, he nevertheless managed four wins in that novice campaign, one of them at Grade Three level; yet he was still well enough handicapped to snare the Plate. He was running a blinder in the Kerry National when tipping over two out.

Ruby Walsh now takes over on this straightforward and consistent seven-year-old. The champion jockey is tipped to score for his dad, Ted, aboard Old Castletown in the two-mile handicap hurdle too. Reverting from chasing, it was no surprise he jumped a shade big at Fairyhouse on Saturday, but he still gave a bright front-running display.

There is another Grade Three, the Buck House Novice Chase, in which Gigginstown's Lieutenant colonel is tipped under the excellent David Mullins. The trip is not ideal for the high-class hurdler but he still appeals as one with the class to compensate.

Gordon Elliott runs stablemate Ball D'arc too and expects there to be little between them. That one has not exactly proved a natural so far and unseated early in a maiden at the weekend.

Michael Halford has only the odd jumper but his Flat steeds are in superb form. Take Venezia to justify nap allegiance in the opener. He can develop into a classy handicapper in time.

The amateurs' handicap chase can go the way of Castle Fall's, a consistent sort which lacks a change of gear. The same can be said for Not For You, connections of which are placing hopes that the new trip will open the door for him at last.

No form can be called on in the bumper, Westland Row a speculative pick for the feared Elliott-Jamie Codd axis, which struck with a debutante in yesterday's bumper in the impressive Baby Twig.

Irish Independent

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