T WICE The Craic makes each-way appeal in Fairyhouse's Tote Trifecta Rollover Handicap Steeplechase this afternoon.
He hails from what would not constitute a typical gambling yard -- which will help his price -- and the layers may also be unaware that he was held up in his preparation for his most recent run.
That was in the Porterstown at today's track. It took place on New Year's Day after having been rescheduled several times -- and even moved to another course at one stage -- during the arctic weather late last year. The cold snap left trainer Willie Murphy unable to get as much work into the Tiraaz-bred as he would have liked.
With that in mind, allied to the burden of having to race from seven pounds out of the handicap, Twice The Craic exceeded expectations by leading for most of the three miles and five furlongs, jumping boldly before tiring from the top of the straight. That was his first run in six weeks yet only his fifth handicap chase, so he is not fully exposed.
There are not many of today's rivals which would prompt worry. An obvious exception is the Gordon Elliott-trained Beautiful Sound, a surprising favourite in the Paddy Power over Christmas. He was ultimately well-held in ninth, but accepts a considerable class drop here.
However, it is worth noting that he beat Twice The Craic over two and a half miles by two lengths at Punchestown in November. Today, the Murphy runner is effectively nine pounds better off with that rival and is clearly in need of at least today's distance.
This gutsy and honest character relishes deep ground, a galloping track and jumps in the manner of a grand staying chaser. With 16 runners, today's contest should offer punters a fine each-way investment at around 10/1.
Twice The Craic at Fairyhouse, 1pt each-way at best morning odds
GOOD luck to an old school pal this afternoon. Matthew Geraghty, now playing for London's Neasden Gaels, faces the Goliath of Crossmaglen in Ruislip this afternoon. Cross are 1/14 to win.
Longer-term, Ladbrokes have gone out on their own by offering odds-against about Clare winning Division Two of the National Hurling League. All other firms offer 10/11 or shorter, but the Magic Sign are 6/5 about the Banner.
Ger Loughnane relishes a broadside and he was at it again last week, when he also made a case for his home county realising dramatic progress over the next few years.
Clare and Limerick are close at the head of the betting and next best is Antrim at 14/1. The Banner face Limerick at home and it is next to inconceivable that they will not make the final, at which point they would likely be 4/5 or shorter.
Clare to win Division 2 of NHL, 2pts at 6/5 (Ladbrokes)
LAZIO imply vulnerability at present and can be taken on at 17/20 to beat Sampdoria in the Serie A this afternoon in Rome.
Since the Christmas break, Lazio's form has dipped and they have won one of their last five. Sampdoria have one of the better defences in the league, while the hosts' goalscoring record is less than what one would expect for a third-placed team. A draw is distinctly likely.
Samp are not much inferior to the Romans and are boosted by the loan signing of Federico Macheda, who began his career at Lazio before moving to Manchester United. Indeed, they finished fourth in the league last season, eight places ahead of Lazio.
Though things have been different this term, it is still understandable that two of the most profitable bookmakers in the world -- Paddy Power and William Hill -- offer 17/20 about a Lazio success. You can do the same on Betfair.
Lay Lazio to beat Sampdoria, 1pt at 1.85 (0.85pt liability, Betfair)
YEAR TO DATE
Profit to €10 stake: €15
Still running: €145
Sunday Indo Sport