Punchestown officials hoping New Year’s Eve card survives weather

Ruby Walsh to partner Willie Mullins-trained Myska at Taunton today

Willie Mullins: plans a rare raid at Taunton today where Ruby Walsh will pilot Myska  in a mares novice hurdle

Willie Mullins: plans a rare raid at Taunton today where Ruby Walsh will pilot Myska in a mares novice hurdle

 

Punchestown officials are “very hopeful” of staging their traditional New Year’s Eve card despite predictions of up to 50mms of rain falling within 24 hours.

Ground conditions at the track are currently “heavy” and racing manager Richie Galway is keeping a close eye on forecast rainfall levels.

“We’re perfectly raceable at the moment but the next 24 hours will be important. We’re forecast to get between 25-50mms. That being said, I’m still very hopeful we’ll be able to race without a problem. It is forecast to remain fairly dry from Wednesday lunchtime through New Year’s Eve and the track has taken the recent rain very well,” Galway said.

On the back of Limerick’s Christmas festival being reduced to two days, southern racing fans will also be denied the chance to go racing in Cork on Saturday after the meeting was cancelled due to flooding and a poor weather outlook.

Bleak outlook

“We’re expecting more rain and strong winds,” said manager, Sue Phelan. “If we get more wind than rain we have a chance.”

The current going for Friday’s other fixture at Fairyhouse is “heavy” and track manager Peter Roe is “cautiously confident” about racing.

“The good thing is we’ll know our fate within 24 hours. We’re told we could get between 25-50mms of rain by Wednesday. If we get up to 35mms we should be okay; if we get 50mms I’d have concerns. But we are due to have two dry days after so I’m cautiously confident we’ll be alright,” he said.

It is “soft to heavy” at Naas ahead of their Grade One Sunday card featuring the Lawlors Hotel Novice Hurdle.

Yorkhill is a possible starter in that race but Willie Mullins’s more immediate concerns revolve around a first ever raid on Taunton today where the Supreme Racing Club-owned Myska attempts to secure some Listed success in a mares novice hurdle.

Ruby Walsh is familiar though with the Somerset track and travels to ride Myska who will face half a dozen opponents.

Steve Massey, manager for Myska’s syndicate, said of their Clonmel bumper winner: “It is good to get her going again. She travelled over on Monday morning and arrived there about lunchtime. She was impressive in her bumper and we were delighted with her first run over hurdles at Thurles. She’s a smart mare and it will be interesting to see how she goes in what looks a strong race.”

Myska’s opposition includes the Dan Skelton-trained Girly Girl, winner of a bumper and a novice hurdle on her last two starts, while Oliver Sherwood’s Surtee Du Berlais and Jessber’s Girl from Harry Fry’s yard are both double winners over flights.

Arctic Fire missed out on the Ryanair Hurdle after his lacklustre effort over three miles at Leopardstown on Monday and also as anticipated by Willie Mullins the Grade One winner was found to be off-colour afterwards. He was declared a non-runner for the Ryanair due to a “respiratory infection.”

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