Following the outbreak of equine flu, racing has been called off until next Wednesday. The British Horseracing Authority face a difficult decision given the disease – which can be transmitted via humans and through the air – is highly contagious.
So we turn our attention to Ireland and they race at Dundalk under the lights this evening and no problems are forecast with the Thurles jumps card going ahead as normal on Thursday.
Swissterious is best suited by the Conditions of the 3-y-old 7f contest but he ran poorly on his last two starts for Karl Burke in Britain and “only” cost 55,000gns when sold at Tattersalls Horses-in-Training sales back in October.
Sky Seven travelled well when scoring over C&D here seven weeks ago and Mick Halford’s lightly-raced colt is a big danger on what is only his third career start. The vote, however, goes to Colfer Me (6.00) who drops back a furlong having made all over a mile here last time. Jockey Donnacha O’Brien is unbeaten (1 from 1) on the colt and I feel he will make sure it is a decent test on his brother Joseph’s three-year-old who must give 3lbs to Sky Seven.
Joseph O’Brien saddles The Game Of Life who looks sure to go close returning to a mile, the distance at which he made a winning debut here back in December. The colt has since finished runner up dropped back to 7f and he has a good draw this evening in stall five.
The vote this time, however, goes to Mick Halford’s hat-trick seeking Gougane Barra (6.30) who overcame a poor draw to win with a bit up his sleeve from a 7lbs lower mark last week. Today’s contest is a step up in class, but he has a much better draw in stall 4 tonight and he can follow up last week’s C&D success. Note Niall McCullough takes over in the saddle with Ronan Whelan unable to do the 8st 7lbs weight.
In the feature BetVictor sponsored 2-mile contest Rashaan is the likely market leader as he bids to follow up last year’s success in the corresponding race, but he refused to race over fences last time and is overlooked.
Chess Grand Master (7.30) would be receiving plenty of weight from Rashaan if this were a handicap but this Bumper winner scored here over 12f last time giving every indication that a step up in trip would suit.