Murphy's Glam Gerry can negotiate the minefield of Paddy Power Chase
RACING:On face value relying on a horse with a reputation for ropy jumping in a fiercely-competitive 28- runner three-mile handicap chase might not be the wisest move this Christmas but Glam Gerry can prove the sceptics wrong in today’s €190,000 Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown.
There are six Grade One prizes up for grabs this week but solving the Paddy Power puzzle will be a priority for many, including possibly JP McManus. The champion owner and legendary punter throws seven runners at the pot, and also has a second reserve, In Great Form, that will be no back number if getting a run. Tony McCoy has been brought over to team up with Ted Walsh’s Colbert Station while a pair of cross-channel-based runners in Prince Of Pirates and Alfie Sherrin also join the “green-and-gold” team.
It is eight years since Keepatem completed back-to-back Paddy Power wins for McManus and this is just the type of trappy handicap that seems to pique the billionaire owner’s interest. McCoy’s presence on Colbert Station will sway many his way although there could be doubts about this one’s stamina once things get serious coming to the second last.
In contrast there appear to be no doubts at all about Like Your Style’s stamina and he will have McManus’s ‘go-to’ jockey in Ireland, Mark Walsh, on board. McCoy will know all about Like Your Style’s stamina having been on his back in last month’s Troytown at Navan when coming up just half a length short of Tofino Bay who had looked something of a handicap blot beforehand.
Like Your Style strikes as the sort of tough sort to have on your side in a rough-house event like this but it might just be his misfortune to run into another “blot” today.
Glam Gerry has been called other things over the last year. On the final day of this festival in 2011 he was hailed as a saviour for plenty shrewdies after landing some sizable bets in an ordinary handicap chase. That he managed to do that having put in a sketchy round of jumping showed what a throw-in he was off a mark of 108.
After that he unseated his jockey in the last fence of the Thyestes and then ran a blinder in the Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham, running on noticeably well up the hill after having again notched up a jumping howler at the fourth last. This season he hasn’t seen a fence so far but impressed when landing a flat maiden at Navan and then ran a fine race back at Cheltenham last month in a valuable hurdle won by Olofi.
Glam Gerry gets in today off a lovely racing weight and Brian Hayes takes 5lb off. His locally-based owner Barry Connell loves having a winner at Leopardstown and the horse is a proven operator around here.
The obvious query is his jumping but Colm Murphy is one of the shrewdest and most accomplished of trainers and there appears to be some confidence the message to pick his feet up has finally got through to Glam Gerry. It is also worth noting the eight-year-old has never actually fallen.
Like more than a few others bottom-weight By The Hour can go close. But a sure-footed Glam Gerry should be too good for them all.