Thursday 22 February 2018

Wind op is the 'Game Changer' at Listowel

Trainer Gordon Elliot. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Gordon Elliot. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

The Game Changer had a wind operation before returning this summer and he can take the Kerrymaid Hurdle at Listowel's iconic Harvest Festival tomorrow.

The Arcadio-bred was down the field in the Galway Hurdle but he ran a nice race at Sligo behind Ted Veale and reversed that form in winning over fences at Ballinrobe. Reverting to the lower obstacles is no obstacle to Gordon Elliott's charge.

The Cheestrings Mares Novice Steeplechase sees Sharlanda have one of her last races - she is in foal - but Colin Bowe's charge may find giving 7lb to Galway winner Miss Eyecatcher to prove just beyond her in a cracking little race.

Miss Eyecatcher's trainer Roger McGrath trains Kings Dolly, at the centre of the infamous Tramore 'punching' furore, and could do with being in the news for a different reason at this stage.


Ruby Walsh rides on the level today and over Jumps tomorrow. His dad Ted's Minnie Dahill was a revelation in her Down Royal win and she gets the nod over Grey Waters in the opening Kerry Group 3-Y-O Hurdle.

Charles Byrnes, a relatively local trainer, can take the Charleville Cheese Maiden Hurdle with Brave Poppy, which is unexposed, while the Low Low Irish EBF (Mares) Handicap Hurdle looks a decent opening for Gold Smoke. Dropping back in distance ought to be no issue for the mount of Cathal Landers.

The feature heat is the €40,000 handicap chase and New Kid In Town could be another for Ruby Walsh here. He has been a shade disappointing, yet perhaps a break will have freshened him up.

His trainer Willie Mullins could double up in the finale with Crumpledandcreased but newcomer Massey's Wood is preferred for Alan Fleming. It would not take a star to win this on debut.

Irish Independent

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