The first Irish meeting of the week takes places at Clonmel on Thursday with an €82,000 card due off at 12.20. Meanwhile, the final race on the card at 3.35 is the first hunters chase of 2020 in Ireland and here to preview the card is Bar One Racing broadcaster Kieran Burke.
12.20, 2m1f (2m197y) Kilsheelan Mares Maiden Hurdle (4yo+)
Getaway Gorgeous is an exciting newcomer to hurdles for Willie Mullins with the 6-year-old wearing a first-time hooding for this maiden jumping assignment off the back of some very promising bumper displays. A winner on yielding/spft at Tramore in August, Getaway Gorgeous went close when a runner-up in listed company at Gowran next time before claiming another silver medal at Cork in November. Paul Townend is booked to ride.
Greenpanda had 30 starts on the flat (winning twice at a low level) and ran ok on hurdles debut at Ballinrobe for Gavin Cromwell last time but will need to find improvement here while Flying Risk is another useful bumper runner who makes a hurdles debut for Gordon Elliott.
Overall, the form doesn’t look overly strong in this big field of 18 runners and as a result this looks a nice opportunity for Getaway Gorgeous to get off the mark over hurdles.
SELECTION: Getaway Gorgeous
12.50, 2m1f (2m197y) Lisronagh Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 80-95)
Walkers Point looks nicely waited for the McParlan team here having being eased to a mark of 88 and has gone close off this figure over this trip in the past.
A J McNamara’s Still Alive couldn’t get near the winner when a runner-up over this trip on testing ground at Limerick on St.Stephen’s day but is another who looks nicely waited in what is a weak looking handicap.
Finally, Vitudurum is a flat winner (RPR 60) who ran really well on handicap debut over this trip and on similar going at Tramore last time and may take advantage off the same mark here for local trainer Joseph Murphy, who enlists the services of the brilliant Jack Kennedy in the saddle.
1.25, 2m4f (2m3f202y) Munster Hurdle (5yo+)
A small field with Insult and Ferocious carrying the Gigginstown silks while Rightplacerightime and Tiger Tap Tap represent Kevin O’Donnell and Willie Mullins respectively.
Insult was last seen over fences in a beginners chase won by Ronald Pump at Fairyhouse in mid-November and while there was little to take from that performance the 3-and-a-half length 4th of 23 in a Grade B handicap hurdle (3m) at Punchestown in May brings Henry De Bromhead’s 7-year-old into the equation here. Also a winner over this trip at the same venue in a maiden back in February we may see more from Insult over hurdles at Clonmel.
Ferocious is the least exposed of these making just a 4th career start and despite disappointing in a couple of decent bumpers the gelding got off the mark in a maiden hurdle contest at Tramore (2m5f heavy) last time. The lack of mud this time around is a major negative for Gordon Elliott’s mount.
Rightplacerighttime looks to have plenty to find on its rivals which leaves former Triumph hurdle runner Tiger Tap Tap. The 5-year-old, who won on the flat in France before joining this yard, dropped back into maiden company and duly returned a winner over 2m3f at Naas last time and while it was a fairly workman like performance he should have enough to see off his opponents again here.
SELECTION: Tiger Tap Tap
2.00, 2m4f (2m3f202y) Monroe Maiden Hurdle (5yo+)
We are back to big field action at 2.00 with 18 runners going to post and plenty of the attention is sure to be on Willie Mullins yard newcomer Lord Royal who was a runner-up on the flat in a maiden when last seen in France.
Elsewhere, a few of these hold some decent bits of form over hurdles with Henry De Bromhead’s Telmesomethinggirl a point winner who has made the frame in one of two starts in Mares maidens under rules.
One for Joe probably holds the pick of the hurdling form having finished 3rd at Tramore latest when only just over 2 lengths behind the winner.
A race probably best watched with a few promising sorts making hurdling debuts but a small EW bet on One For Joe may be the best option if you do want to get involved.
SELECTION: One For Joe (EW)
2.30, 2m4f (2m3f202y) Tipperary Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 80-102)
17 runners involved here so I’ll keep this preview short and sweet with Phillip Dempsey’s Fighting Fit finding things very difficult in some very strong maiden company (ran in races won by Soviet Pimpernel & Andy Dufresne) but found things much better when going handicapping last time at Fairyhouse (2m) when running on well to grab a 3 length 3rd off an opening mark of 92 and is only 2lb higher here.
Breaking a blood vessel in that race, if showing no ill-effects here and staying the extra trip then we should see a JP McManus winner on Thursday’s card.
SELECTION: Fighting Fit
3.05, 2m½f (2m88y) (Inner) Jossestown Handicap Chase (4yo+ 0-109)
An interesting race given the fact three of the 7 runners were involved in a relevantly tight finish at Tramore on New Years day. Bridge Native, Benefit Run and Bee A Beneficiary was the 1,2,3 with just 4 lengths separating the 1st and the 3rd.
Ross O’Sullivan’s Benefit Run jumped and hung badly left when it mattered most at Tramore and if those tendencies have been ironed out by the Kildare trainer then I’d expect the result with Dot Love’s Bridge Native to be overturned this time around. Robbie Power rides Benefit Run for the very first time.
SELECTION: Benefit Run.
3.35, 2m4½f (2m4f115y) (Inner) Rathronan Maiden Hunters Chase (5yo+)
Plenty of these crossed paths at the Limerick Christmas festival in a Hunters Chase but were a long way off the winner Samurai Cricket while Complete Sizing reeled off a 4-time in points before returning lame after a hunters chase at Down Royal when last seen in May.
If returning fit and firing here for the Dreaper yard then Jamie Codd holds leading claims aboard the 8-year-old.
SELECTION: Complete Sizing.