Saturday 16 December 2017

Well-treated Groody Hill hard to oppose

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Having revealed his true colours when the money was down last week, Groody Hill may be poised to complete a quick double in today's MW Hickey Chase at Wexford.

The Christy Roche-trained five-year-old, owned by JP McManus, landed a substantial gamble at Punchestown on Wednesday, and the ease with which he did so has prompted the handicapper to raise him 12lbs in the ratings.

However, he gets into this afternoon's €11,385 contest with just a six-pound penalty, so he is extremely difficult to oppose.

That said, this is a tougher assignment than Wednesday's, with a number of in-form rivals among the seven-strong field. Ard Agus Fada, Streamtown and Westmeath Bachelor are all recent winners, while Ardglen has also been at the top of his game.

In the Whitford House Beginners' Chase, Tico is strongly fancied for local handler Willie Codd. Henry de Bromhead's lightly-raced Beckwith Star displayed considerable potential when second to Politeo on his fencing debut at Limerick in March, but Tico's race-fitness may give him a slight edge under Paul Townend.

A former point-to-point and maiden hurdle winner, the six-year-old was about to make a successful start to his chasing career at Tramore recently, before tipping up two-out under the champion jockey. With luck in running, he should make amends.

Earlier, Rourke's Cross gets the nod in a decent-looking two-and-a-quarter-mile maiden hurdle. Fellow bumper winner King Malik has the benefit of a recent run, while Mr Murphy is an interesting prospect from the point-to-point field.

However, Rourke's Cross had four subsequent winners behind when landing a bumper at the first attempt at Limerick in May. That sets a fair standard.

In the novice hurdle, Pickapocketortwo could take plenty of beating for Willie and Patrick Mullins, but Michael Hourigan's Galway winner Best Served Cold is just preferred now that it steps up to three miles.

Irish Independent

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