Week 1: Autumn point-to-point season

 8/10/2017: Castletown-Geoghegan (yield-soft)

4yo maiden:

This race provided some other horses of interest:

Hitdroadjack (by Wareed) trained by Dan Lordan, who finished second to Napoleon Blue seemed to improve markedly from three runs last spring.  He has since joined Henry De Bromhead but was pulled up in his only start in a Clonmel maiden hurdle. It may be significant that De Bromhead won the race and that this was a mere “sighter” for Hitdroadjack. Handicapping will be his forte if he is any good and he has a long way to go. Probably close observance of his next races will be instructive.

If there is a “dark horse” in this race it could possibly be the pulled-up beaten favourite, Two Sams (by Dubai Destination), who was trained by Michael “Trixie” Barry. It’s obviously a shot in the dark but having studied Barry’s handling of winners Cols Corner, Sraid Padraig and Sweet As A Nut of the years they rarely won without some confidence behind them. This may well be a long term project but is of interest nonetheless.

Finally, for those who follow pointing closely, I am always on the lookout for mares that run well against their male counterparts in maidens and Tashunka (Ashleigh Murphy) was in third when falling at the last. A subsequent disappointment in a mares’ maiden she could be of limited ability but is just the type to surprise against her own sex having shown up well here. She goes in to my point tracker.

5yo maiden:

My “also ran” from this race was the beaten even-money favourite, Robin De Broome, who was disappointing  following a couple of placed efforts but who has since joined Brian Barr in Dorset. He is the kind of horse I like to follow in an unassuming yard and it will instructive to see what Mr Barr can wrest from him.

15/10/2015 Loughrea  (soft/heavy)

5yo maiden:

As I mentioned above Brindisi Breeze is a former winner of this race and it has produced good track runners in Moyross (Enda Bolger-2016), Leg Lock Luke (C Tizzard-2015) and Just A Par (P Nicholls-2012). For this reason I am nominating the 2014 winner Ted’s Island as one to follow who remains a maiden on the track although he has only run under Rules 5 times. He has won three points (trained by John Walsh) but is under the care of Wexford’s Michael John Murphy for his track career. The 5 runs I mentioned have yielded three second-place finishes at Wexford (twice) and Clonmel over the past 18 months and he is due a turn. Murphy has not trained a winner in 50 attempts since 2006 and these three seconds have been the closest he has come. I may be a masochist but, if he could only be dropped a few pounds –run him on winter ground that he dislikes!! – then he is likely to go very close. He hasn’t run since last June so Ted’s Island will go into my tracker for now.

22/10/2017 Rathcannon  (soft/heavy)

4yo maiden:

I think the unlucky last-fence faller, Chateau Marmont, from this race should also be followed. Trained by Pat Doyle, he is a Flemensfirth gelding out of a Milan mare who won her only start in a Limerick bumper in 2011 trained by John Queally. Costing a reasonable-looking €22,000 as a store he has been bought by Phil Martin for £100,000 and will continue his career in the UK.

28/10/2017 Lisronagh  (soft/heavy)

5yo maiden:

Perhaps a horse to note from this maiden is Ballyegan Warrior, trained by Derek O’Connor’s brother Paurick who looked to be going best when falling at the last (R89). Mind you, he has since been beaten in a four-runner maiden so enthusiasm is tempered. If he could come right again he would be of interest back on the track where he has a bargain basement rating of just 85 when trained by Robert Tyner.

28/10/2015 Portrush  (soft/heavy)

4yo maiden:

If the winner is rated 91 then the runner-up, Brace Yourself, at 90 is also entitled to some attention. A Mahler gelding trained by Warren Ewing, he almost made double that of Weakfield at £165,000 and has joined Noel Meade. Possessing a superior pedigree his half-brother won a handicap hurdle off 114 for Ben Pauling whilst the flat-bred dam was a bottom-drawer stayer but also a half-sister to 5 winners the best of whom won a 3m handicap case off 120 for Paul Webber. Mahler’s first crop are now 7yo’s and his best representative to date has been Elliott’s Sutton Place winner of two Grade 2 hurdles and rated 160.

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