Just Call Me a sure thing...
GORDON ELLIOTT’S Bayan continues his Galway Hurdle preparations at Cork on Friday when he faces just four rivals in the two-mile-four-furlong conditions hurdle.
Already the winner of over €270,000 in prize money, the 151-rated hurdler has won seven times, including in The Ladbroke at Ascot, but comes into the race on the back of a four-race losing run. However, the race conditions suit him well, with promising young rider Jack Kennedy also taking off 7lb.
Opposing Bayan are a pair of Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-olds in Alelchi Inois (Paul Townend) and Indevan (Ruby Walsh), and while both are confirmed high-class summer horses, each is on something of a retrieval mission.
Alelchi Inois was pulled up on his last two chase starts, albeit in Grade One and Two company last year, while Indevan reverts to hurdling, having been well beaten on his reappearance behind Savello at Punchestown a month ago. The quintet is completed by Saint Gervais and Collen Beag.
Bayan should be able to confirm his well-being ahead of Galway and may not be the only Ballybrit winner to come out of the race.
Barry Geraghty continues in his pursuit of more winners for new boss JP McManus and has solid claims for the champion owner on the Andrew McNamara-trained Just Call Me in the Mallow Print Handicap Hurdle.
This one was third at Limerick last month and the form of that race was subsequently boosted with the winner Punch Bas following up again at the same track last weekend. An extra 2lb will hardly inhibit his prospects against Lady Of Portlairge and Indian Rupee.
McManus’s Captain Barbossa, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is another with strong claims in the concluding five-runner winners’ bumper. The son of Goldwell finished strongly to edge a short-head win at Ballinrobe in May, but now steps up in class where he could face stiff opposition from the Willie Mullins-trained Listen Dear, a wide-margin scorer at Downpatrick in June.
The Mick Winters-trained Theos Well was a very cosy winner on the Flat at Ballinrobe last month, and might be able to get off the mark over hurdles in the two-mile maiden hurdle, where he faces Bright Prospect and Ballydoyle resident Chamonix, although Mark Walsh rides the latter while Geraghty is on Need To Talk, one of Paul Nolan’s McManus-owned hurdlers.
Tradewinds was previously a winner for Nicky Henderson and is reunited with Geraghty in the opening three-mile maiden hurdle, having shown some promise on his first start for Michael Hourigan, at Killarney in May. He steps up to this trip for the first time but that could suit and he has shown plenty of ability in the past.
New Kid In Town returned from a year’s absence after being beaten favourite on his hurdles debut at Limerick a month ago and should benefit from that reappearance as well as stepping up considerably in trip.
6.50pm: Thanks For Tea
7.20pm: Theos Well (Dbl)
7.50pm: Just Call Me (Nap)
8.50pm: Captain Barbossa
5.50pm: New Kid In Town
6.50pm: May Dullea
7.20pm: Bright Prospect
7.50pm: Lady Of Portlairge
8.20pm: Sixth Avenue
8.50pm: Listen Dear