Wednesday 13 December 2017

Torphichen can seal Gowran double for O'Grady

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Edward O'Grady and Andrew McNamara are fancied to land both of the conditions races on the weekend's only domestic jumping card at Gowran Park tomorrow.

The Ballyhale Chase is the most valuable contest of the day with €11,040 on offer to the winner, a prize that the partnership's Torphichen must have a serious chance of securing on the back of his recent triumph at The Curragh. Prior to showing his well-being on the Flat, Torphichen had run four times over fences this term, losing his maiden status at Clonmel in December before finishing third in two graded events.

Tawaagg, Sounds Of Jupiter and See U Bob are others to consider in the two-and-a-quarter-mile chase, but Torphichen is the one with the most potential. The six-year-old holds an entry in next week's Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse, and victory here would at least justify that outlay.

Catch Me is also taken to collect for O'Grady and his stable jockey in the previous three-mile hurdle. This is a far trickier race to decipher, with many of the 20 runners in with a chance. However, Catch Me gets the nod; he has been running well and is returning to a trip over which he has often run admirably in the past.

Davy Russell, who continues to try to make inroads into the absent Paul Townend's lead in the championship race, could get on the scoreboard with Doc O'Donnell in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase. A winner of two point-to-points and a bumper, Timmy O'Callaghan's nine-year-old returned to racing under rules with two respectable placed finishes recently, and Russell's booking is significant here.

Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh are also on duty at the Kilkenny venue. Geraghty's best ride of the day may be Menwaal in the opening handicap hurdle, while Walsh will be looking to steer Willie Mullins' Shifa to a debut jumping success in the mares' maiden hurdle.

Twice a bumper winner in France, Shifa has been placed in each of her four starts over flights since switching to the champion trainer's care. Presenting Ruby, Princess Gaia and Jeunopse are among a number of live threats in an open race, but Shifa is overdue a win at this level.

Irish Independent

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