Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
I’m trusting Barry Connell’s Good Land to fill one of the money positions in the opener on Wednesday!
This lad won a competitive maiden hurdle with fancied Albert Bartlett runners in behind and then he was a great winner of the grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy Novices Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival which is notoriously a very good trial for either the Ballymore or the Albert Bartlett. It looks as if the trainer has opted for the former but this does seem like the better option considering how much pace he seemingly possesses.
He travelled like a dream at Leopardstown and put the race to bed nicely. I think Impaire Et Passe will be very hard to beat but with question marks over Gaelic Warrior’s jumping and the record of Challow winners in this race, Good Land rates a knocking place bet at even money.
Brown Advisory Novices' Chase
The second selection is relatively left field but we have a safety blanket of 5 places to fall back on. I’m opting for Thunder Rock in the Brown Advisory. All season he has looked like he’s yearning for a step up to 3 miles and he’ll finally get it here for Heskin and Murphy.
He’s won 2 of his chase starts to date including one over an inadequate 2 miles, the other beating Solo by 8 lengths off level weights before that horse won the grade 2 Pendil at Kempton. He’s since been 3rd in a grade 1 at Cheltenham and 3rd in the Scilly Isles at Kempton behind Gerri Colombe.
The eye catching race was the Cheltenham race behind The Real Whacker where he finished with a fair rattle after seemingly being well beaten earlier in the race. That run was certainly one that showed he was screaming for 3 miles so hopefully he’ll be staying on like a flash at the end to finish in the top 5.
Cross Country Chase
The Cross Country Chase is usually a race that divides opinion but I love it personally and so does the horse Back On The Lash who has won twice from 4 spins around this course. I think he’ll finish in the top 6 and evens is a fantastic price to do so.
There are few horses in the field that have the experience that he has around here and after his win in January on his last start, he is clearly in very good heart. I can forgive him for pulling up in this contest last year as it was ran on heavy ground which definitely wouldn’t have suited.
Both times he has won at the track, the word ‘good’ has been in the going description. He beat Delta Work back in January but he was receiving almost 2 stone from the class act and off level weights it would be exceptionally hard to get the better of both him and Galvin but he’s got a huge chance of placing.
Lastly in the bumper, you could pick any of these but my preference is for Fact To File to finish in the top 5. He’s been a bit of a talking horse in the days leading up to this and Willie did an interview on Sunday where he said this horse would be more than suited by conditions.
He has a little bit to find with A Dream To Share based on Leopardstown running but if the ground is going to be on the softish side then that would bring his stamina in to play as he’s won a 2m4f bumper already.
I think he has very good place claims for a trainer who farms this race and an owner who is known for buying some very talented horses. Patrick Mullins has also chosen to ride him which bolsters his claims, a very talented amateur who won the race last year aboard Facile Vega.