A tough Saturday but Global Citizen made most to win at Newbury and hopefully some of you replaced non-runnerRamses De Teillee, in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle, with Lake View Lad especially as the rain softened ground had come in his favour. If you did you would have had a break even two-days.
A couple of competitive handicaps and three Grade 1’s at the Fairyhouse Winter Festival on Sunday.
2:10 – A 3m 5f handicap chase. It may pay to focus on the form of the Cork National here. The winner Out Sam needs this sort of distance these days. Although he wasn’t disgraced when a never nearer 5th in the 3m Troytown Handicap 7-days ago. Just over 12 lengths behind Out Sam in the Cork National was Une Lavandiere. That was the mares seasonal return so she entitled to have needed the run. The 7-year-old was down the field in a Punchestown handicap hurdle 14-days ago. She may need softer ground but the 8lb pull she gets from Out Sam should see her get closer to him here. Velocity Boy was in the process of running a big race when coming down two out in the Cork race. He was just about to challenge for the lead and if the 9-year-old is none the worse for that fall is another who can serve it up to Out Sam. The 13/2 available with Paddy Power was a stand out price. That price has now gone but he’s remains the one for me.
Verdict: Une Lavandiere is capable of winning a staying handicap chase this winter when she gets an easier surface but it’s Velocity Boy for me.
Velocity Boy – 11/2 @ Paddy Power or 5/1 @ William Hill & BetVictor
3:10 – A valuable handicap hurdle over 2m. Jezki might be a 10-year-old but he showed last season when winning at Leopardstown that he hasn’t lost his heart for racing. He’s clearly not the horse that won the Champion Hurdle in 2014 and Grade 1 hurdles at the Grand National & Punchestown Festival’s in 2015. However, he showed when runner-up to Apple’s Jade at Navan on his recent seasonal return that his appetite for hurdling hasn’t totally gone away. Even under top-weight of 11-10 he can’t be totally ruled out and could reach the places.
Trainer Charles Byrnes has a couple of interesting runners at the head of the market. Off You Go returned to action for the first time since February with a win at Galway. That made it three successive handicap hurdle wins for the 5-year-old. He’s up 9lb for his Galway win but it’s not hard to think that there is more improvement in him, 3 from 7 over hurdles, and a 7lb claimer has been booked which negates the weight rise. The trainer also saddles another improver in Wonder Laish. The 6-year-old made it 2 from 3 over hurdles when winning easily on his handicap debut at Navan, three weeks ago. The handicapper has reacted by putting the gelding up 17lb for that win but even that weight rise might not stop this progressive hurdler.
Verdict: Jezki could roll back the years and has each way claims even under top-weight. Charles Byrnes has a strong hand with Wonder Laish & Off You Go and the latter looks worth a saver.
Jezki – 25/1 @ Bet365 paying 4 places ¼ odds) & Boylesports (paying 5 places 1/5 odds) – each way.
Off You Go – 5/1 @ William Hill & Coral