There’s plenty of domestic racing over the weekend with action at Fairyhouse on Saturday whilst enthusiasts can choose between Limerick and Naas on Sunday.
At Fairyhouse, the Caroline Hutchinson-trained Hu Ha Joe is the clear class act in the ww.positivesigns.net Handicap Hurdle. Hu Ha Joe was most impressive when winning handicap hurdles at Wexford and Tramore in quick succession in August. On his most recent start, the Gulland-sired gelding finished a fine third to Randall’s Diana in a two-mile handicap hurdle at Listowel on September 20th, having previously come second to the smart Sweet Kiln in a one mile six furlong flat maiden at Tramore.
It’s safe to say that Hu Ha Joe is an extremely consistent sort and he’s confidently recommended to regain the winning thread here by disposing of Better Than Jewels.
Academy Sir Harry is a very interesting proposition in the Winter Festival 2008 Maiden Hurdle. Academy Sir Harry was an extremely talented bumper performer for Eoin Griffin last season, winning a Fairyhouse contest in April. He rounded off the campaign by finishing a creditable third to the Cheltenham festival bumper winner Cousin Vinny in the Grade 1 event at the Punchestown event.
This last effort indicated that Academy Sir Harry is a hugely talented sort and he’s likely to get off the mark at the first time over flights by getting the better of Oscar Looby.
The ultra-consistent Leanne is put forward to score from Myeniscrone in the Bobbyjo Bistro Mares Beginners Chase and recent Listowel runner-up Financialregulator should have most to fear form Granaruid in the Membership 2009 (C & G) INH Flat Race.
Mister Top Notch, the top-rated chaser in Ireland at present, will surely go close to landing the Ladbrokes.com Munster National Handicap Chase at Limerick on Sunday.
Mister Top Notch has represented his trainer Davy Fitzgerald with distinction over the past few seasons and he owes his lofty 154 mark in part to the fact that he finished an excellent fourth to The Listener in the Grade 1 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February.
The Mister Lord-sired gelding made a pleasing return to action by finishing fifth in the Kerry National at Listowel last month, then coming a fine second in a two-mile flat maiden at Tralee last week. Whilst Mister Top Notch will have to shoulder top-weight here, he’s still likely to be led back into the coveted number one slot from Ballyagran.
Dbest has been in excellent form of late and perhaps Joanna Morgan’s dual-purpose performer can continue on his merry way by landing the afternoon’s main supporting event, the Grade 3 PricewaterhouseCoopers Chase from Finger Onthe Pulse.
The Terence O’Brien-trained Glenquest could supplement his recent Listowel victory by dispensing with Define in the opening Newenham Mulligan Novice Hurdle whilst former dual winning point-to-pointer Clever Creation is likely to make a victorious start to her park career by denying High Amenity in the STL Logistics Mares (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race.
There’s also a top-class card at Naas and Mad About You should revert to victorious ways in the featured Castlemartin Stud European Breeders Fund Garnet Stakes, a one-mile listed races for fillies and mares.
The Dermot Weld-trained Mad About You has been mixing it with the best of company this season and she finished second to Halfway To Heaven in the Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh back in May.
However, the wheels later came off the bike when the Indian Ridge-sired filly could only finish eighth behind Moonstone in the Darley Irish Oaks in mid-July. However, perhaps that run came too soon for the Rosewell House inmate considering that she finished an excellent second in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh just a fortnight earlier. This will be Mad About You’s initial start since the Irish Oaks and she’s likely to make a victorious return to the fray at the expense of Pat Flynn’s She’s Our Mark.
Blas Cheoil, already a dual juvenile winner for Jim Bolger this season, should avail of a step down in class to beat Heart Of Fire in the coveted Derrinstown Stud European Breeders Fund Birdcatcher Nursery.
Sioduil could initiate a two-timer for handler Bolger by eclipsing Silver Shoon in the Michael Bathe Memorial European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden whilst Noel Meade’s recent Listowel third Realt Dubh is the most likely winner of the Become A Go Racing Member In Kildare Member INH Flat Race.
The main British race meeting takes place at Ascot this Saturday and it’s safe to say that the most prestigious race on the menu is the Group 3 Deloitte Autumn Stakes for two-year-olds’ over a mile. Zafasio has won his two most recent starts and perhaps Paul Blockley’s charge can continue on his merry way by getting the better of Kite Wood here.
Proceedings commence with the Group 3 Wilmott Dixon Cornwallis Stakes and this coveted five-furlong juvenile contest looks set to be dominated by Mrs Kipling and Armour Propre. Narrow preference is for the Simon Callaghan-trained Mrs Kipling, already the winner of two out of her four starts to date and for whom the booking of Jamie Spencer is quite significant.
The James Fanshawe-trained Sir Gerry, winner of the 2007 renewal of the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York, is put forward to triumph from the hat-trick seeking Perfect Polly in the Group 3 Willmott Dixon Bengough Memorial Stakes.
Much interest will be centred on the ladbrokes.com Stakes and it should pay to row in behind the Michael Bell-trained Allied Powers. A three-year-old, Allied Powers has already won four times this season and he’s likely to prove marginally superior to Buddhist Monk.
Midnight Cruiser should continue the excellent run of Richard Hannon’s juveniles by dismissing Absent Pleasure in the Royal Ascot Racing Club Anniversary Hyperion Conditions Stakes and Australia Day looks set to excel from Kinsya in the David & Toni Eyles Handicap.
Also on the box
There will also be televised racing from both Musselburgh and Chepstow. At Musselburgh, Acroplis will surely go close in the Play scotbetpoker.com Handicap. This Linda Perratt-trained seven-year-old has been placed on his four most recent starts and this 98-rated performer is recommended to show a clean pair of heels to Times Vital.
Tim Easterby can continue his fine season courtesy of recent all-weather winner Captain Dunne in the National Express York Sprint Cup whilst Judd Street is also bound to figure prominently in this five-furlong contest.
Sir Mark Prescott’s runners must always be treated with maximum respect at the Scottish tracks and the Heath House operator appears to have found yet another tailormade winning opportunity for Master Of Arts in the scotbet.com Conditions Stakes.
The BBC 1 team cover two national hunt races live from Chepstow and the Paul Nicholls-trained Dear Villez is likely to get the afternoon off to the best possible start for favourite backers in the Get Your Chips @ williamhillcasino.com Handicap Chase with The King Of Angels another that’s likely to give a positive account of himself here.
Alan King generally has his runners well forward at this stage of the season and the Wiltshire handler is likely to collect the Realtime Radio @ williamhill.co.uk Hurdle with Squadron and Party Palace also holds definite each-way prospects in this extended two-mile contest.