Saturday 25 November 2017

One million reasons to focus on Gowran card

Johnny Ward

"This time next year," Del Boy would regularly attempt to convince Rodney, "we'll be millionaires."

In the end, he was right - but, as happened a man from down home who won the Lotto, the dream's realisation did not bring happiness.

I am convinced that becoming a millionaire would not make me any more content but I may give that theory a rigorous test if I am the sole winner of Tote Ireland's record Pick Six of around €1m at Gowran Park tomorrow.

Winning it is difficult enough without everybody else falling into the bargain but spare consideration for the sole ticket holder last Sunday who merely needed 1/7 hotpot Order Of St George to justify his short price in the St Leger in order to collect around €400,000. Death and taxes and all that.

That punter's woe meant that the pool carried over to tomorrow, which is a somewhat curious state of affairs: as meetings go, a flat offering at Gowran on the day of the All-Ireland football final is about as low-key as one could think of. No more.

Another anomalous feature of this story is that, while the Tote can showcase this bonanza and all the free publicity that entails, the reality is that betting on the Tote most of the time is an act of folly if you have any interest in making money through betting.

That is for another day and it is hard not to resist a punt on this card. You must pick the first six winners and we start in the opening Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden in which a chance is taken on the Ger Lyons-trained Wayside Flower. The Shamardal offspring has a nice low draw and the form to collect off a 113-day break.

David Wachman's surprise departure from the training ranks is regrettable and he will hope for a productive last few months in a tough game. Rekindling has solid claims for the stable in the juvenile maiden for colts and geldings over a mile.

The third leg, the featured Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes over nine and a half furlongs, looks to be there for the taking for the Tony Martin-trained Laganore, which has a high draw but that is no major concern. Discipline for the Dermot Weld-Pat Smullen axis is a danger.

Onto the fourth race and a pipedream becomes more realistic if you are still alive. Set To Fire is no 'good thing' in this, the first division of the Tote Pick 6 Is Heading For One Million Euro Handicap, but she is knocking on the door and has the assistance of Colin Keane. Trainer Johnny Murtagh is making a name for himself outside of the saddle.

In the second division, which has all the makings of a race to make a hames of many a Pick Six dream, the quirky Annagassan is no more than a hopeful pick. Her inability to travel easily is a concern but she will keep plugging away, as will we into the sixth and final leg.

The Tote should crank up the publicity going into the apprentice handicap over nine and half furlongs, informing the rest of us how many are still in with a chance. Oh dear Papal Parade, you five-year-old filly of modest ability, little do you appreciate how much there might be riding on your ability to have 13 rivals chasing you at the Gowran winning post. You know it makes sense.

Two other races take place too. The Aga Khan-owned Massayan can land the Rated Race Weld, who may follow up in the closing maiden with Ample Sufficiency.

Irish Independent

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