Elliot to leave rest of Kilbeggan field chasing Shadows
WITH four last-time-out winners over fences amongst the seven runners, the two-and-a-half mile novice chase looks the best spectacle at Kilbeggan on Monday.
Gordon Elliott has been in punter-pleasing form over the last month and it’s interesting that he saddles both Akorakor and Shadow Catcher here.
Akorakor hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that were held after he landed the champion point-to-point bumper at Fairyhouse earlier in his career but chasing was always likely to be his game, having impressed as a four-year-old in a points race at Lismore.
The French-bred runner has tackled this course and distance on his last two starts, and beat Macnicholson over fences convincingly last time.
Shadow Catcher held a hurdle rating in the high 130s when placed behind Ted Veale in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham a few years ago, and got his chasing career off to a successful start when getting up close home over this trip at Limerick.
The Housekeeper also comes here off the back of a win, having scored over three miles at Roscommon, beating Sambremont, the pair finishing a long way clear of Jarob.
Course form is often at a premium around here and Akorakor gets the vote but there isn’t much between the four principals.
Harangue warrants a tentative vote in a wide open handicap headed by Shield.
The Paul Gilligan-trained gelding has a tendency to jump left yet his five career wins include two at Sligo and he would have a solid chance on the form of his penultimate start at Punchestown.
The seven-year-old filled third spot then behind Fr Humphrey and they were split by As De Pique, who has won twice since. David Mullins rides as Harangue’s regular partner Andrew Lynch is on his honeymoon.
Abarta and Ballyfinboy are the only two in the line-up to have won last time out, both having scored on the same card at Downpatrick over a week ago.
Abarta finished strongly up the hill to collar Royal Chief, and probably rates a greater threat than Ballyfinboy, whose win was over hurdles and is possibly best served by trips around two miles.
Westhaven won a maiden hurdle here back in 2013, and may now be ready to step up after a few runs this year.
The Carmel Fay Memorial Handicap Hurdle is the most valuable race on the card. Getting Late showed promise on a couple of occasions in two-mile maidens last term, and seemed to appreciate the step up in distance when opening his account at Downpatrick last time.
It was encouraging with current conditions in mind that he handled the better ground well, and the Edward O’Grady-trained gelding has scope for further improvement.
Do Try Dolly also got off the mark in quite modest maiden company last time with a wide-margin victory at this venue.
She previously beat all bar Gold Tantrum here in a handicap. The booking of Jack Kennedy can only be seen as a further plus.
Elliott saddles a strong dual challenge with the frustrating to follow Seeyouallincoppers and Disputed. The latter showed he’s well suited by a sound surface when scoring over a similar trip at Tipperary back in April.
The three-mile handicap hurdle is a bad race, some 29lb below the other handicap hurdle.
Western Promise went up 2lb after his nine-length second behind Mustadrik three weeks but was still some 12 lengths clear of the re-opposing Dedoctorsdaughter.
Generous Bond showed improved form with his Punchestown third behind Na Trachtalai Abu and Oscar Chimes, beaten only a length-and-a-half and would go close if running to that level.
Sandymount Duke can come out on top over Speed Demon in the three-mile novice hurdle while Rock On Fruity, third to Gangster and Cecil Corbett at Roscommon, could have the measure of Batchelors Walk in the opening maiden hurdle but this is no match and the Edward O’Grady-trained French import Time For Mabel would be worth a watch in the market.