Guitar Pete to Pull the Strings
Sandra Hughes has a number of chances at Kilbeggan this evening, most notably with Guitar Pete in the Kieran Kelly Memorial Beginners’ Chase.
A Grade One winner over timber as a four-year-old, he struggled a touch in two starts last autumn but showed much more when switched to fences at the Galway Festival, finishing a decent second behind Impresario.
He faces a couple of challengers from Gordon Elliott’s yard in Downpatrick fifth Rendezvous Peak and Officer Cadet, who showed up well when second at Wexford on his latest outing.
But Guitar Pete was totally different class to that pair over hurdles and the cobwebs were gently blown away by that Galway outing, so he should really go in here.
Barry Geraghty was down on the Horseracing Ireland runners sheet to ride but is replaced by JJ Burke as Geraghty presumably departs pretty sharpish after the 6pm race by helicopter en route to AP McCoy’s retirement party.
In that Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey Mares’ Novice Hurdle, Geraghty is booked to ride Tri Na Ceile for JP McManus and Jessica Harrington and she should justify favouritism, although Snaidhm could press her close.
Hughes kicks off the meeting with Cataclysm in opening maiden, though he will have to improve on his Limerick fourth behind Little Haarth if Denis Hogan’s The Welsh Wizard is to be stopped from backing up his excellent effort behind Thomas Hobson at Galway.
Hogan has nice prospects too with Emmy Lou in the Joe Cooney Memorial against Shaiyzar and You Can’t Catch Me.
Nearly Nama’d is another Hughes runner who might be expected to have improved somewhat and has the handicap chase as his target here.
He goes against a couple of in-form performers such as the Gavin Cromwell-trained As De Pique and Stonehall Jack.
Drive The Bus also won on his last start and has to be carefully considered, along with Nearest The Pin, who has been an admirable servant to Shark Hanlon over the years.
The 89-rated Flat performer Journey Home has a big chance against the likes of Troubled Soul and He’s Our Robin (also in at Downpatrick on Sunday) in the two-mile maiden hurdle.
Stamina is the problem but Journey Home would have the class to outspeed these.
Hughes’s final runner is the four-year-old Eshayko in the bumper.
This one showed some promise over hurdles on his debut and might face a threat from the consistent Paddy Gunzales.
Bobarlee doesn’t appear a Willie Mullins record-breaker, and this might be an open contest with that trio as principals.