Grand Jesture to foil Foxrock at Down Royal
Katie Walsh can score St Stephen’s Day success on Blairs Cove
Jockey Katie Walsh will be looking for a holiday winner. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
St Stephen’s Day duty takes Katie Walsh to Down Royal for a Hunters Chase ride on Foxrock and another potentially good chance in Blairs Cove.
The former Grade One performer Foxrock made a return to the point-to-point fields earlier this month when chasing home Balnaslow and re-opposes that opponent on worse terms for a five-length defeat.
Down Royal’s hunter chase has been used repeatedly in the past as a stepping stone en-route to Foxhunters glory at Cheltenham and it looks significant that Grand Jesture is currently a 12/1 second-favourite for the festival’s amateur highlight in March.
Grand Jesture twice disgraced himself by refusing to race but looked a transformed character in his first point-to-point start over a month ago when winning easily and Jamie Codd maintains the partnership. If ground conditions don’t get too soft he may be hard to beat.
So Walsh’s best chance of a holiday winner could come in the bumper where Gordon Elliott saddles both the experienced Broken Soul and the newcomer Oakley Hall.
Blairs Cove makes the journey north from Paddy Twomey’s Cashel yard and there was plenty to like about his third to Cilaos Emery at last April’s Punchestown festival.
Burgas had a very difficult task in chasing home Yorkhill at Fairyhouse last week but jumped well enough and faces nothing of that class in the opening Beginners chase.