Getabird to get off the Grade One mark in Limerick’s new top-flight feature

Top jockey Robbie Power swerves Leopardstown for start of Limerick action

Paul Townend on Getabird at Punchestown. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Paul Townend on Getabird at Punchestown. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

Limerick’s first ever Grade One race looks an ideal opportunity for Getabird to break his top-flight duck on St Stephen’s Day.

The €100,000 Maatchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase has been won by some top-notch performers over the years.

But it’s new status has helped attract even Ruby Walsh to ride at Limerick on St Stephen’s Day for the first time in 22 years.

The last time the legendary rider spent the busiest day of the racing year in Limerick was when he was a 3lb claimer and finished third in a bumper on board a horse called Ashtale.

If Walsh is a very different proposition now then it’s fair to say so is Getabird in comparison to the unremarkable Ashtale.

Nevertheless having been hyped as a new Rich Ricci owned superstar in the mould of Douvan and Vautour, Getabird’s novice hurdle career ultimately proved a let-down last season.

He flopped as a hot favourite for Cheltenham’s Supreme and although an impressive Grade Two winner at Fairyhouse during Easter he twice subsequently failed to hit the Grade One mark at Punchestown.

Admittedly the final one of those saw him badly hampered and pulled up. But there remain many who are yet to be fully convinced by the horse.

There was however plenty to like about his steeplechase debut at Punchestown where he once again appeared happier going right-handed.

Given he’s going the right way around at Limerick, and both two and a half miles and soft ground are no problem to him, Limerick’s first Grade One looks a perfect chance for Getabird’s own first Grade One. Hardline looks the danger.

Walsh has three rides on the card and Salsaretta’s fourth start for the Willie Mullins team in the conditions hurdle should be a winning one.

The jockey, who memorably spent St Stephen’s Day winning the King George five times on Kauto Star at Kempton, doesn’t often ride for JP McManus but does so in the opening juvenile maiden hurdle.

Mixmoon ran third on the flat in France last Spring but she might face a task trying to win on her Irish debut against Band Of Outlaws.

Joseph O’Brien’s horse is rated in the 90’s on the flat and was running on noticeably well on his jumping debut at Cork behind Maze Runner earlier this month.

The Gold Cup and Grand National winning rider Robbie Power is another top jockey giving Leopardstown a swerve and has half a dozen Limerick mounts on Wednesday.

They include Jetz who takes on Getabird in the big race although one the best of them could turn out to be Rovetta in a mares handicap hurdle.

Jessica Harrington’s dual-purpose sort ran only on Saturday at Thurles when last of five. Power however reported she didn’t handle the relatively quick going and Rovetta’s fondness for mud looks like being provided for at Limerick.

Power is also likely to be a major contender on Rovetta’s stable companion Polished Steel in a maiden hurdle confined to horses that have never been placed.

In that context Polished Silver’s fourth placings behind Battleoverdoyen Daly Tiger read impressively.

Seskin Flyer won at Thurles on Saturday but the context for the resultant 6lb penalty is that the horse carried 5lb overweight on that occasion.

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