Il Fenomeno looks the each-way value
RACING:The rescheduled three-runner Grade One Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase jostles the Boylesports.com Hurdle for attention at Leopardstown today but many punters will be hoping Inis Meain puts Denis Hogan firmly centre-stage after the €100,000 handicap feature.
The Co Tipperary trainer will also ride the progressive Inis Meain who was purchased by big-spending Carrickmines owner Barry Connell at the turn of the year.
Inis Meain has dominated ante-post betting on the presumption he could be miles ahead of the handicapper compared to when he previously ran over jumps last spring. Since then he has soared up the flat ratings and if that progress is emulated over flights, then his 29-strong opposition face a big task.
However, it remains a big task for a horse at comparatively small odds and it could pay to look for alternative each-way value.
Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown operation runs four and yet retained jockey Davy Russell is on none of them and instead pitches up on Ted Veale.
That leaves Paul Carberry on Il Fenomeno, a former Grade Three winner over hurdles, and a Group Three winner on the flat in his native Italy, who sports first-time blinkers this afternoon.
The €70,000 Gigginstown purchase didn’t do much in his prep behind Cairdin at Christmas but at his high-class best, he doesn’t look badly weighted on 11st 2lb and the blinds could bring significant improvement. He looks worth a shot at big each-way value odds.
Trainer Edward Harty hopes taking blinkers off Like Your Style might help him in the €75,000 Leopardstown Chase. The Troytown runner-up didn’t show much in the headgear in the Paddy Power Chase but his form behind Tofino Bay at Navan prior to that gives him a shout in race in which JP McManus runs five horses.
Arvika Ligeonniere is two from two in a pair of Grade One starts over fences. Spectacular in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse, he had a much tougher time over the course and distance of today’s Arkle when winning on St Stephen’s Day.
Oscars Well and Benefficient were behind him that day but Oscars Well never looked to recover from a first-fence blemish and Arvika got left with another solo-show up front. A better jumping display this time and Oscars Well could make it much closer.
“He hit the first fence hard in the race at Christmas and probably didn’t jump as well as he should after that,” said Oscars Well trainer Jessica Harrington yesterday. “Hopefully he’ll jump better and we’ll see what happens.”
Fatcatinthehat will try to make it third time lucky over flights in the opener but Ibsen ran a fine race here over Christmas and is preferred.
Leopardstown confident of racing
Despite an 8am inspection today, the Leopardstown authorities are not anticipating any problems with this weekend’s action going ahead.
“It is purely precautionary,” insisted manager Pat Keogh yesterday.
“We got rain today that we were expecting the previous night and it is forecast to be around until midnight.
“But the problem is all this rain is quite localised so we just want to make sure, the weekend that’s in it. But we don’t anticipate any difficulties.”
There is rain forecast for tonight too but Keogh is similarly confident of tomorrow’s Irish Champion Hurdle card going ahead.