Gowran Park Race Preview, 03/10/2020

Gowran Park
Saturday October 3rd

Gowran Park 4.20
Good Enuf 2 Eat Caterers At Gowran Park Handicap Hurdle
3m – Going: Good – 16 runners

Due Reward
In August 2019 was 2nd to Tudor City in Galway Hurdle, led at a medium pace at best, went 3 lengths clear after 3 out, stayed on under pressure, led narrowly last, hard driven, stayed on, headed close home – able to set his own fractions and didn’t flinch; winning chaser also. Only start this year so far, was midfield in competitive handicap hurdle at Bellewstown on July 4th, tracked leaders, ridden into 4th and 5th, jumped big 6th, pushed along after 7th, lost ground approaching turn out of back straight, hard ridden and struggling to stay in touch home turn, no extra under pressure 3 out, in close to 2 out, driven and one pace approaching last, mistake, driven, faded run-in. For this extreme step up in trip (up to now raced only around 2m), he’s related to a couple who stay around 2m4f, but not further, so best watched for me
Flooring Porter*
Won handicap hurdle over this c/d in July, started to race keenly from 8th, tracked leaders with rider appearing to be struggling to hold one side of him approaching 3 out, disputed lead with tongue hanging out approaching 2 out, led jumping but immediately challenged by winner, shaken up, headed approaching last, a neck down when mistake, hard driven, rallied, led 175 yards out, changed legs close home, stayed on well from Cusp Of Carabelli. Backed it up with a good effort in Grade B handicap at Galway but, on softer ground, travelled nowhere near as well as he did when winning, niggled along away from 3rd, 5th and 8th, pushed along and was 6th with 6 lengths to find 2 out, hard ridden, stayed on home turn under pressure, outpaced as 1st 2 drew clear, stayed on into 3rd run-in, drew clear of the 4th last 150 yards, nearest finish behind Great White Shark. The ground appears to make a difference to this one and it’s likely to be in his favour here, no rain in the forecast
Sweet Home Chicago
On first start since June, won well over 3m at Roscommon, edged closer final circuit, chased leader going best home turn, led and mistake 3 out, pushed clear, not fluent 2 out, ridden further clear, well ahead last, unchallenged from Kilkishen. Nowhere near in Grade B handicap at Galway on softer ground next time, midfield 10th racing widest of all, pushed along after 11th, made a little ground, lost ground under a hand ride approaching 2 out, well back jumping it, no more approaching last – has run poorly over fences twice since. Conditions in favour but hard to see this exposed one winning off 129 (highest winning 119)
Successful over 2m4f at Bellewstown on July 8th, midfield approaching 4th, raced wide, mistake 5th, headway and midfield when not fluent 8th, niggled along and made good ground to chase leader approaching 3 out, ridden along, upsides leader 2 out, pair clear, led approaching last, edged left and bumped runner-up, steadied into last, hard ridden and continued to edge left, stayed on well last 125 yards to pull clear of Roi De Dubai. In a more competitive race, was some way off that at Galway next time (top weight rated 124), firmly pushed along approaching 2 out, rear of main group when 8 lengths to find, hard driven approaching home turn, no extra approaching last, lost ground run-in, made no contribution behind Bon Retour. Stays 2m on the Flat and might be okay over 3m over hurdles
Last won in September 2018, over 2m6f at Killarney, up with the pace throughout. Largely inauspicious return from a long break in three starts since March 2020, but over an inadequate trip on each occasion, at Leopardstown in March over 2m edged a little closer but not hard ridden approaching 2 out, raced outer some 8 lengths off leaders, pushed along and kept on approaching home turn, carried head awkwardly and not stay on approaching last behind Wolfofallstreets; better run on the Flat at Bellewstown over 1m4f in August, ridden along 3f out, kept on but carried head awkwardly 2f out, looked held final furlong, no extra last 150 yards, stuck to task. Lot of miles on the clock now but well treated over this more suitable trip
William Of Wykeham*
Progressing one who’s gone from 95 to 122 since the resumption, with wins at Ballinrobe and Roscommon (latter over 3m) before stepping up on that at Killarney when running Decor Irlandais close, held up, moved comfortably home turn, edged closer wide approaching 3 out, niggled along after it, closed on leaders approaching 2 out, shaken up after it, stayed on approaching last, chased winner nearing it, half a chance on landing, hard driven, stayed on, couldn’t get to winner, pulled well clear of 3rd. Last time at Punchestown maybe could have gone better,  began to edge closer after 9th, rear of the main group as they bunched up approaching 3 out, pushed along and 3 to 4 lengths down under a ride approaching 2 out, hard ridden and outpaced approaching home turn, well held under pressure straightening, had 7 in front approaching last, hard driven run-in, stayed on last 175 yards, passed a couple close home, 5th to Ellie Mac, leaving the impression he could have done with a more strongly-run race there. Can be competitive
Streets Of Doyen*
Best to date when winning 3m handicap hurdle at Roscommon on September 28th, held up, in close to 5th, mistake 9th, briefly niggled along 11th, niggled alng 12th, hard ridden turning out of back straight, very good headway home turn and passed several rivals to be prominent approaching 3 out, mistake, with leaders under a ride approaching 2 out, led there, stayed on in front approaching last, wandered a little, pulled clear with runner-up run-in, stayed on under pressure, carried head a little to one side but always doing enough. Unexposed and claims in this follow-up bid
The Gatechecker
Mixes hurdling with chasing and took the Cork National over 3m4f back in November, led 2 out, hard driven, stayed on, led 5 lengths last, ridden out from Glorious Galway. Best subsequent form was over hurdles, also at Cork, in January over 2m4f, led, 2 lengths up 6th, mistake 8th, jumped left 9th, niggled along in front, more firmly pushed along home turn, mistake and headed 3 out, stayed on under a ride and still every chance when mistake 2 out, driven and faded approaching last, 3rd to Morosini. On first start since resumption and without usual blinkers, was ridden from the back at Listowel behind Balinaboola Steel and made little impact, passed a couple under a push 10th, midfield and struggling to get to the leaders under a ride approaching home turn, kept on though looked held 2 out, no more and weakened approaching last, kept on run-in. Exposed as a hurdler and with his usual blinkers missing again (hasn’t won without since January 2017), hard to fancy
Three starts since resumption for this 13 year-old and best of them when 4th to Ellie Mac at Punchestown on September 9th, midfield, slightly outpaced 8th with pace increasing, edged closer approaching 9th, nudged along and good ground approaching 3 out, only 2 lengths down 2 out, pushed along, couldn’t find extra approaching home turn, looked held under pressure approaching last, chance of 3rd jumping, hard driven, carried head high last 100 yards and no extra close home (but finishing ahead of William Of Wykeham, who didn’t get the run of the race as described above). Best form in recent years has been in cross-country chases; no wins since October 2015 and hard to see him getting one here
Cherif De L’isle
Successful on heavy ground at Limerick in March; best form in three runs since resumption, with a visor replacing his usual blinkers, when 3rd to Ellie Mac at Punchestown on September 9th, tracked leaders, edged closer when ridden into 3 out, chased new leader as field clustered up, hard ridden 2 out, put under pressure home turn, couldn’t go with 1st 2, carried head to one side, looked held approaching last, hard driven, kept on one pace, no impression on 1st 2 but held on to 3rd well, finishing ahead of today’s rivals Jarob, William Of Wykeham and Agent Boru. Not yet raced on good ground (was yielding at Punchestown) and visored a second time, looks a contender
Allez Kal
In January 2019, won at Cork over 2m4f – held up last early, closed on leaders approaching 2 out, sustained effort and led approaching last, pulled 5 lengths clear when in close to it, ridden out, stayed on well to maintain clear lead, decisive from The Jam Man – but has been either beaten double digits or fallen in ten starts since over hurdles or on the Flat, last time at Punchestown was behind several reopposing rivals when well beaten behind Ellie Mac, niggled along before and after 8th, a little ground as field clustered and 3 lengths down in last of the main group 3 out, hard ridden, weakened approaching 2 out, well held under a ride home turn, kept on a bit last 150 yards but no impression. Not sure where we are with this one, but she’s down to her last winning mark
Agent Boru
No wins since his only career victory in April 2018 and no form at all last season, over hurdles or fences. First start since the resumption, ran okay when 6th to Ellie Mac (also behind a few of his rivals here) at Punchestown on September 9th, prominent to midfield, shuffled back and midfield 2nd, outpaced and niggled along approaching 3 out, mistake there and momentarily lost hind legs, hard ridden and stayed on approaching 2 out, passed a couple home turn but a lot to do, looked held home turn, no impression under a ride approaching last, ridden run-in, stayed on last 150 yards, finished well and took 6th close home. Hit a flat spot when things cranked up, but had running in him at the line. Dropped a couple of lbs, hard to leave out
Mon Storm
Won three hurdle races prior to successful chasing debut at Sligo last September, niggled along and raced wide of 1st 2 bend before 2 out, hard ridden approaching it and not going as well as the 2 in front, stayed on under a ride approaching home turn, disputed lead approaching last, was a neck down jumping, hard driven run-in, led 150 yards out, stayed on well to draw clear of Pont Aven. Second run since resumption, considerable improvement on his outing at Sligo in August when staying-on 4th to The Mouse Doctor in a lady riders’ handicap hurdle over just 2m, held up last, pushed along home turn, widest of all turning in, kept on approaching 2 out, hard ridden and closed a little approaching last, just about midfield jumping and looked held, carriead head awkwardly, stayed on well last 150 yards, closed well on those ahead, nearest finish. Good mark and the useful Conor Orr takes off 5 lbs
Only win to date in a weak Naas maiden in December last year. Best run in a handicap last time out, but never actually competitive in it, at Listowel on September 21st in a 80-116 event, prominent, niggled along briefly after 1st, shuffled back and midfield 2nd, mistakes 4th and 5th, lost place and last 6th, pushed along approaching 7th, mistake there, hard ridden, detached from main group and struggling 3 out, stayed on widest of all under a strong ride approaching home turn, no extra and looked well held 2 out, some 8 to 10 lengths down when mistake last, kept on run-in, just got 7thto Whereyounow. Not expected to be competitive in this better race, in blinkers first time (owner/trainer yet to have a blinkered winner at all)

Ballycastle Girl
Followed up a Kilbeggan win by going in again off 101 less Sean O’Keeffe’s 5-lb claim at Bellewstown last time, headway 10th, hard ridden home turn, prominent when mistake 3 out, stayed on under a ride approaching 2 out, led there, carried head high but ridden clear approaching last, mistake, idled and carried head high and to one side throughout run-in but always staying on well enough from Metal Man. Up 11 lbs, tough task in this better race if she gets a run
On a hattrick after wins at Kilbeggan on September 4th and Navan on September 19th, in the latter prominent, pecked on landing 2nd, in close to 3rd, mistake 4th, headway on the bit home turn, tracked leaders 3 out, disputed lead approaching 2 out, moved best when sent on between last 2, soon opened up a 2- to 3-length lead, mistake last, driven out run-in, ran on to go further clear last 150 yards, decisive from Vue En Seine. With longer trips the making of him (3m1f at Kilbeggan, 2m6f at Navan), likely to be competitive if he gets a run

Shortlist: Flooring Porter, William Of Wykeham, Streets Of Doyen

Gowran Park 4.55
PWC Champion Chase Grade 2
2m4f – Going: Good – 6 runners

The best form on the table here is Hardline‘s 2nd to Min in the John Durkan Memorial at Punchestown last December, prominent 4 out, ridden into 3 out, effort and chased leader home turn going comfortably enough, every chance looking strong approaching 2 out, shaken up after it, stayed on and led approaching last, 1st 2 clear, ridden into it and mistake, headed, put under pressure, one pace last 175 yards, stuck to task, was closed on last 100 yards but held on to 2nd – it was a belting good run and no apparent fluke, really serving it up to Min, but he fell at Leopardstown next time and was shy of that high level of form on his subsequent outings, no extra between the last two fences when 3rd to Any Second Now at Naas in February when he was last seen out.

Peregrine Run was as good as ever when driven out from the last to beat Robin Des Foret at Killarney in July, but his form seems to have tailed off, below form on the Flat since falling at the 1st at Listowel the last time he was over fences, and his usual blinkers have been left off, while there’s a case for and a case against where Easy Game is concerned. His best novice form gives him a chance – he ran Faugheen to half a length in the Grade 1 Flogas at Leopardstown in February, pushed along turning in, outpaced as Faugheen went on, stayed on approaching last, the better jump, hard driven, 1st 2 clear, sustained effort but no extra final 100 yards; his Tramore-win last time – whilst giving him a fitness advantage over Hardline – wasn’t convincing though, only beating off Razoul in the last 100 yards; however Tramore isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that runner-up is above-average himself (gave Benruben a race at Roscommon on Monday of this week).

Paloma Blue was probably below his best when beating Western Victory at Wexford in August, made ground to chase leader going best of the field turning out of back straight, sent on home turn and ridden along, drew 2 lengths clear before 2 out, put under pressure, didn’t go away from rival, only a length and a bit up last, driven out, stayed on well enough; he’d been niggled on and off before that though, and is yet to win beyond 2m1f. Many eyes will, however, be on the Arkle winner, Put The Kettle On, who is proven over 2m4f, and has only been beaten once in seven runs since May 2019. Making most at Cheltenham, she pulled out more when it mattered to get the better of Fakir D’Oudairies – there’s no faulting her attitude, but she needs to improve her form to take a hand. That leaves The Storyteller, who’s done well in smaller fields of late – winning over fences and hurdles at Galway on his last two – pushed clear home turn, drawing further clear on the long run-in and readily beating Sub Lieutenant (not that hard to do these days) at the Festival-meeting there before beating My Sister Sarah over the smaller obstacles. He’ll run a race, but I’m giving Hardline a chance here.

Selection: HARDLINE – Alternative: The Storyteller

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.