GOWRAN PARK – 15 February 2014
Going: Heavy Forecast: Overcast/Strong winds
After a disappointing week for Irish racing, with abandonments at Clonmel and Thurles, we are hopeful the remaining fixtures for this weekend remain widely unaffected. At the time of writing there are no planned inspections for wither Gowran park on Sat or Navan on Sun, but with recent weather that could still change. Also in relation to the runners for both days, expect withdrawals from ground dependant horses.
The obvious stand out selection for this meeting is the Cheltenham bound Un De Sceaux, who shouldn’t face any stiff competition in this Grade 2 Trial Hurdle, but a mere run out on track and freshen up, ahead of the bigger task come march. I fully expect his unbeaten run to be intact come the finishing line.
2.25 – RED MILLS Steeplechase (Grade 2) – 2m 4f
The one to watch for here is the Willie Mullins trained Turban who is looking to make a quick follow up on recent success at Fairyhouse, on soft ground in mid Jan. Winning in good fashion by 6 lengths. Although a step up in trip, this shouldn’t trouble the 7yr old as he was finishing on strongly, showing there is more to come.
Willie Mullins speaking yesterday in regards to Turban, “he was race ready for Clonmel until the abandonment; he looks in good form for the Red Mills Chase at Gowran”. This gelding also looks nicely weighted in receipt of 7lb from Gordon Elliott’s top weight Rui De Mee who finished a disappointing last in last weeks Hennessy Gold Cup, but a return to form which saw him win by 13L to second placed Sizing Europe in Nov could see him thereabouts, however the trip may appear to be short.
The danger can be seen in the form of Toner D’Oudairies who looks a very decent prospect and has excellent recent form especially in recent outing at Punchestown at the start of the month, although finishing behind Arvika Ligeonniere, he dismissed of Raithlin back in third who he opposes again today.
He seems to enjoy the ground which should serve him well in the closing stages, and has won at this distance in the past. Other mention goes to Tony Martins Bog Warrior who boasts a course win here last Jan, but hasn’t been seen since the Cheltenham Festival last year and would need to be rediscovering some of his previous form if looking to return to winning ways.
Selection – Turban
Danger Toner – D’Oudairies
3.00 Holden Plant Rentals Careys Cottage Cup Handicap Chase – 2m 4f
The James Joseph Mangan trained Castle Wings grabs the attention in this 2m 4f chase and with a highly impressive recent success over this distance at Cork on Heavy ground back in January, which he seems to enjoy, he has all the credentials to be a major contender. Especially in receipt of over a stone from top weighted main danger Ned Buntline, trained by Noel Meade and owned by JP McManus. In his eight starts under rules he has not placed outside the top three. Although his recent outings have been over shorter distances, there is a lot to suggest the step up in trip should work in his favour.
The only drawback being the weight given to the rest of the field. If he makes the running, the extra furlongs should work to his advantage. His recent win back in Dec at Navan under Paul Carberry, demonstrated his ability to finish strongly at the business end of things. The only other consideration is Eoin Doyle’s Lookoutnow which has failed to show progression from winning this contest last year, but a C&D winner none the less.
Selection – Castle Wings
Danger – Ned Buntline
4.10 Shantou at Burgage Stud Maiden Hurdle – 2m
Gordon Elliott’s Halling’s Treasure has recorded two seconds and a third in his previous hurdling attempts and looks primed to land his first victory over hurdles for the Gigginstown Stud, with Bryan Cooper on board. The going looks ideal as the last 3 outings was on heavy ground should stand him in good regard for this test.
A recent 3rd behind Ivan Grozny at Naas in Jan, shows that with a little progression success this time out can be achieved. The main threat is the Willie Mullins filly Florishwells D’ete who has 7lb in hand over her rival which should be enough to make her competitive, although little or no form to go on, her one win on the flat and being steered by Ruby Walsh, defiantly one to watch out for.
Selection – Halling’s Treasure
Danger – Florishwells D’ete
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