Tuesday 24 April 2018

Take the 'Highway' route to find Listowel winner

Trainer Tony Martin runs Ted Veale in the feature Guinness Handicap at Listowel. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Trainer Tony Martin runs Ted Veale in the feature Guinness Handicap at Listowel. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

'Highway to Heaven' ran on NBC from 1984 to 1989 and fans of the American drama series will be all over the likely favourite in the first at Listowel today.

It is exceedingly rare that Tom McCourt has a horse capable of winning a Flat maiden but today's opening Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Fillies Maiden looks there for the taking for the horse named after the old TV show.

The Stamullen trainer has a modest strike-rate but his horses are in decent form and Highway To Heaven is a daughter of Pour Moi, stallion of Derby winner Wings Of Eagles.

She handled testing ground no problem at Roscommon when second on debut recently and hardly needs to improve from that to win today.

So You Thought looks quite well treated ahead of the Bank Of Ireland Handicap. Dermot Weld's colt, which was a winner on good ground in April, may handle this testing terrain; certainly Weld knew what to envisage at declaration time.

The form of Dara Tango's rather comfortable win in Galway, which preceded a less inspiring Roscommon effort, got a nice boost when the Ballybrit runner-up Highland Fling won well at Listowel yesterday.

He can bounce back in an intriguing John & Terry Moriarty Memorial Handicap, in which Lord Erskine has to be feared after a 15-length win in the race in which Dara Tango struggled at Roscommon.

Dara Tango's trainer Tony Martin runs Ted Veale in the feature Guinness Handicap and the old boy may be able to show his juniors how to do it. There was nothing wrong with his second to Renneti in a smart contest at Galway, since which he has run almost as well as he ever did in a couple of Jumps contests.

Ibsen has to be rated a danger for Gordon Elliott, having scored quite readily at Tipperary, albeit in a modest affair relative to this one.

Another aiming to roll back the years is Hidden Cyclone in the Southampton Goodwill Steeplechase. The 12-year-old, second in last year's Galway Hurdle, does not go over fences much nowadays, but he should be too strong for Val De Ferbet in receipt of weight.

Bronco Bill was as big as 15/2 last evening ahead of the Paud, Sarah & Mary Fitzmaurice Memorial Handicap Hurdle. Noel Meade has had a quiet enough Listowel but he had a winner yesterday and this Kalanisi-bred will be all the better for the little weight he has to carry here.

Turbojet has an official rating of 123 and should be good enough to get off the mark in the John J Galvin Maiden Hurdle but Aherlow may out-stay him for Henry de Bromhead.

Willie Mullins can take the Listowel Printing Works Irish EBF Mares (Pro/Am) Flat Race with Koroleva, hooded for the first time. There is no question mark about the stable form, since Riven Light landed the Flat feature on Wednesday and two more Mullins horses won at Listowel yesterday, both recruited from other barns.

Lagostovegas held on by a neck in the feature Ladbrokes Ireland Handicap Hurdle at odds of 5/2f, while Ruby Walsh doubled up when Ben Button justified evens favouritism in the staying handicap hurdle, a third win on the bounce.

Lagostovegas came from Harry Kelly's stable, Ben Button from that of Philip Rothwell.

Irish Independent

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