Following the recent abysmal spell of weather, it’s to be hoped that the domestic racing scene returns to normal this week and the second session of the truncated Listowel festival is pencilled in for Thursday afternoon.
Proceedings get under way at 2.25pm and The Last Hurrah is an extremely interesting proposition in the Helena Sheahan Memorial Novice Chase.
This Jessica Harrington-trained eight-year-old created a hugely favourable impression by gamely accounting for Barker in a two mile one furlong beginners chase at Ballinrobe on August 11th.
Barker, it must be remembered, had the class to win last season’s Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown and it was a terrific performance from The Last Hurrah to beat a horse of his calibre at Ballinrobe on what was his first run of the season over fences.
In all probability, The Last Hurrah is on an upward trajectory and he’s taken to defeat Clew Bay Lodge.
Stage Manager appears the clear class act in the featured Guinness Handicap Hurdle, a two-mile contest which comes complete with a €50, 000 prize fund.
The Tony Martin-trained Stage Manager posted a powerful stamina-laden performance to justify favouritism with Ruby Walsh in a two-mile handicap hurdle on the opening evening of the Galway festival – July 28th.
Stage Manager was ultimately raised 12 lbs for that authoritative display to a new mark of 125 and the six-year-old is confidently recommended to continue in a victorious vein by getting the better of the Galway Hurdle runner-up Eagle’s Pass.
Breaking Silence appears quite well-treated by the conditions of the Southampton Goodwill Chase.
This Tom Taaffe-trained gelding developed into a fine novice chaser last term and he made a quite pleasing return to the fray by finishing a creditable eighth off his 132 rating in the Galway Plate in late-July. Breaking Silence it must be remembered was still beaten just 28 lengths altogether by Oslot.
That was a most meritorious performance and, as the son of Simply Great will be receiving weight from the vast majority of his rivals here, he’s taken to regain the winning thread by proving marginally superior to Conna Castle.
The Edward O’Grady-trained Caltra Princess should supplement her facile success from late August by disposing with the ultra-consistent Arkendale in the Dawn Omega Milk Handicap Hurdle whilst Heroes Square should continue trainer Caroline Hutchinson’s excellent run by eclipsing Bodacious in the Kevin McManus Beginners Chase.
Elaine’s Twinkle meanwhile looks set to conclude the session on the best possible note for punters by returning to the coveted number one slot from Ballysassian in the Spectra Photo Labs INH Flat Race.