There is little or no rain forecast for Clonmel who stage today’s seven-race jumps card which is likely to be run on ground less taxing than has been the case for much of the winter. The ground at Downpatrick – and backed up by the times – was no worse than good to soft/yielding for Sunday’s card which saw two outstanding performances.
The Hunter Chase winner On The Sod maintained his unbeaten record with the minimum of fuss, and I would be surprised if he was wearing the trainer’s own silks the next time he reached the track. Green and Gold perhaps? The Bumper winner Ballyadam cost connections £330,000 and put behind his disappointing debut at Navan – too free on heavy ground – to hose up in the finale. He could still be very very good.
In the opener at Clonmel today Farmix (2.00) is taken to go one better than last time when he made most but was picked up by Groody Rover over today’s C&D earlier in the month. That form was given a huge boost when the winner turned a, seemingly, competitive handicap at Down Royal last week into a procession off a mark of 120 – albeit over an additional half-mile.
A market move for Henry De Bromhead’s Florrie Webb would be worth noting given he would have won his sole point had he not come down at the last. He has not seen the track since finishing third in a Cork Maiden Hurdle back in July but that was a good effort with the winner – Turnpike Trip – a subsequent Grade 3 winner now rated in the 140s.
In the Maiden Hurdle over an extended two-and-a-quarter miles I like the booking of Robbie Power for Elusive Star (2.30) for Michael Hourigan. The pair combined to finish fourth in a Punchestown Maiden Hurdle last February and the selection has since run well between the flags winning one and finishing runner up in the other two. The gelding was amateur ridden when fourth in a Bumper at Gowran earlier in the month and I expect him to come on for that run.
Cosa Ban was in the process of running a big race when coming down two out when still bowling along in front last time. She looks sure to run a big race.
Danny Mullins takes over in the saddle on Shantou Sisu (3.00) who has been knocking on the door of late and looks sure to run a big race from the front in the 2m Handicap Hurdle. He ran all the way to the line when second over an additional quarter mile here earlier in the month. He looks sure to race more prominently than was the case when the pair combined to finish a never nearer second over C&D back in October – from a 5lbs lower mark.
The feature contest is a hot Conditions Chase over 2m 3f and preference for Bachasson (3.30) over Death Duty is marginal. Both main protagonists ran big races at the Cheltenham Festival with Bachasson staying on strongly in a slowly run Coral Cup while Death Duty was forced to cover ground throughout when fading from two out in the Plate.
Bachasson’s record over fences is three wins from six starts although he has not raced over the larger obstacles since he came down at the second in the 2018 Gold Cup. This small field should suit, and I hope Paul Townend races the grey more prominently than was the case at Cheltenham.
The mare Robin Des Pois (4.30) ran away with a Newcastle handicap from a 9lb lower mark earlier in the month on what was only her second start for the Gordon Elliot yard. Today’s drying ground looks sure to suit and Sean O’Keefe takes off a valuable 3lbs. The Trigger finished runner up at Downpatrick on Sunday over 2m 3f but this 2m 7f trip just stretches his stamina to the limit.