Sunday 18 February 2018

Roberto Goldback can make hay at Thurles

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

JUST five horses go to post for the Kinloch Brae Chase on today's excellent card at Thurles.

The Oliver McKiernan-trained Follow The Plan, successful in the €45,000 Grade Two in 2011, bids for successive victories on the back of a tame effort on his seasonal bow in the Lexus Chase. You couldn't write off the Punchestown Gold Cup winner, but this may be a chance for Roberto Goldback.

Desperately unlucky when unseating at the last fence in that Punchestown Grade One in May, the 10-year-old has taken his time to find his form this term, but ran with some credit when fourth behind Synchronised in the Lexus. If he can improve on that now, he could take plenty of beating, with Nina Carberry again taking the reins on Dessie Hughes' charge.

Apt Approach may prove to be Roberto Goldback's main danger. Willie Mullins' runner was a tidy winner here on his reappearance in November, before going on to readily beat Tranquil Sea in Listed company at Tramore.

Ruby Walsh is taken to land the nap on Tony Martin's Benefficient in a cracking novice hurdle that gets proceedings under way.

Seven of the eight on duty scored on their most recent start, with Mullins' Pickapocketortwo one of two whose form jumps off the page.

Pickapocketortwo beat smart subsequent winners Ipsos Du Berlais, My Murphy and Jack Bene in a four-horse race here last time. While that is hard to top, Pickapocketortwo must concede five-pounds now, and Benefficient's eight-length conquering of Knockgraffon King at Navan in December also reads well after that one's triumph at Navan on Sunday.

Walsh also gets the nod on Bishopsfurze, another winner at the Tipperary track in November, in the novice chase, while Knockfierna can atone for her random exit at Limerick in the graded mares' equivalent.

Irish Independent

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