Decision to bypass the Lexus could pay dividends for Martin's Bog Warrior
RACING: Since one of the abiding Irish racing images of 2012 remains the monsoon-like conditions the Punchestown festival was run in, it’s almost appropriate there is an 8am inspection at the Co Kildare track this morning.
Tramore also hosts an 8am inspection ahead of its two-day fixture, with the weather threatening to be a complete new year spoilsport as Fairyhouse inspect today too ahead of tomorrow’s fixture.
Should Punchestown get a green-light, the featured hurdle contains a number of star names, none more so than the six-time Grade One winner Solwhit who is scheduled to make a first start in almost two years.
Course officials are anxiously keeping their fingers crossed the Met Service has got its overnight forecast correct.
“We’re hopeful that if we get the forecast 10mms of rain we will be okay. The fear is if we get more than that,” racing manager Richie Galway said yesterday.
“We’re told the real heavy rain will be to the north of us and the track has taken what’s fallen up to now very well.”
The two and a half mile conditions hurdle has seven due to line up including the Grade One winning chaser Bog Warrior and this year’s Royal Ascot hero Simenon, as well as the prolific Donnas Palm from Noel Meade’s yard.
There will be plenty attention though in Solwhit, an old foe of Hurricane Fly, who has an Aintree Hurdle and an Irish Champion Hurdle on a CV that peaked during 2009 and 2010.
He has been off since finishing runner-up in the 2011 Irish Champion and with regular partner Davy Russell committed to Gigginstown’s Bog Warrior, Andrew Lynch comes in for the ride on Solwhit.
“He’s as fit as I can get him at home. He will come on for the run, but he’s ready to start back,” said Solwhit’s trainer Charles Byrnes yesterday. “Hopefully it will go ahead as I’d like to get him started. He’s been back in since July but we’ve taken it slowly.”
Russell can get one over on his old pal though as Bog Warrior looked rejuvenated by a return to hurdles at Fairyhouse when winning a handicap under 11st 12lb and the decision to bypass the Lexus on Friday can pay off with another confidence-restoring victory here.
Fans of Willie Mullins’s exciting novice Boston Bob will be anxiously looking at the Beginners Chase where the horse that ran him so close at Navan earlier this month, You Must Know Me, lines up.
You Must Know Me has to cope with Boston Bob’s stable companion Vesper Bell, runner-up on his chase debut at Thurles, while Ipsos Du Berlais will also figure on his Galway form behind Lyreen Legend.
Tramore’s manager Sue Phelan is confident of passing their inspection and that is good news for the St Stephen’s Day Limerick winner Ponmeword who attempts a quick follow-up in the handicap chase.
The best quality event is the novice hurdle where the course maiden winner Moveable Asset has a tough second start over flights against Ted Veale.
David Casey’s mount is a proven winner on testing ground and faced a tough task against Sizing Rio on his previous outing.