Killarney Race Preview, August 20th 2020

Thursday August 20th

Amazingly, despite the going on the Flat course being changed to ‘Soft to Heavy’ during racing on Wednesday, the official going for the jumps tracks remained ‘Good, Good to Yielding in places’ on Wednesday night when this Preview was published. If it isn’t at least soft now, it surely will be come race time – with Storm Ellen expected to batter Ireland, two separate weather forecasts are predicting more than 20mm of rain overnight and on the day.

Killarney 5.15
GMHD Handicap Hurdle Grade B
2m1f – Going: see above – 12 runners

Due Reward
In the 2019 Galway Hurdle he was nearly gifted the win, led at a medium pace at best, quickened in front and went 3 lengths clear after 3 out, only a length up 2 out, ridden, stayed on under pressure, led narrowly last, hard driven, stayed on, headed by Tudor City close home, no extra final strides. Fine effort from the front, able to set his own fractions, and didn’t flinch. After winning and running 2nd in two of his three chases, was off a break when turning up at Bellewstown in July in a good handicap hurdle, not able to get the lead, 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, faded run-in, 6th beaten 13 lengths. Better than that but likely to be taken on for the lead again, Bentham and Born By The Sea other possible front runners, and all wins on good ground
Moon Over Germany*
Last year ran away with the Red Rum Chase at Aintree on soft ground (rained incessantly earlier in the day). Been over hurdles lately and ran well in the County at the Cheltenham Festival,  eye-catching headway going comfortably going down the hill and passed many to dispute the lead jumping 2 out, pushed along and a neck down home turn, hung left under a ride some 250 yards off last but stayed on, soon put under pressure, every chance till was strongly challenged and headed a few strides off last, hung left again and weakened last 150 yards, leaving the impression he could have done better than his 11-length 6th to Aramon if his effort had been delayed. Was last in the Galway Hurdle but didn’t get far enough to judge how good or otherwise his Cheltenham run was, badly hampered and rider unseated 2nd.  Not the best at winning races, but if he is held on to for longer he could run a big race
Good run in the 2019 Galway Hurdle when 7th to Tudor City; not out again until this year’s renewal on July 30th and didn’t show up as well, chased leader, shuffled back by 3rd but remained largely prominent, not fluent 3 out and ridden along away from it, held place under a ride going to 2 out, not fluent there, well held home turn, well back last, eased late, 9th beaten 24 lengths – a better run than his position maybe. Chance at best (wouldn’t be the first time he’s bounced back on second run after a break); has run as though wanting further in the past (subsequently proving it by winning over 2m4f); likely to be ridden up with the pace and proven on soft
Golden Spear
Feels like this one’s been around for years – best run over hurdles in the last year was in Listowel Handicap Hurdle last September, chased leader 4th, in close to 5th, moved comfortably 3 out, niggled along approaching turn out of back straight, soon more firmly pushed, lost place and had 5 or 6 in front home turn, outpaced approaching 2 out, looked held jumping, hard ridden, kept on approaching last till steadied into it, no more run-in, weakened final 150 yards behind Davids Charm – a weak finish, but he’s not normally ridden as far forward as that. Has been disappointing before and after racing’s suspension, but bounced back on the Flat at Galway last time, midfield after 6f, moved comfortably 4f out, had plenty of cover, pushed along 2 1/2 f out, stayed on home turn, caught wide turning in, hard driven, stayed on well final furlong, closed on leaders, sustained effort and passed several, just got 3rd post behind Princess Zoe. If he runs he has a chance, but he ran in the 1m6f handicap on the Flat on the Wednesday (great run, staying-on 2nd to Zenon), so a chance he might be withdrawn
At Limerick on first start post-suspension, made up 3 lengths from the second last and was very strong at the end in winning from Rewrite The Rules; on that form started favourite for the good handicap hurdle at Bellewstown on July 4th and disappointed a little, midfield 5th, lost place and vigorously ridden along towards rear of main group home turn, looked held when stumbled badly two strides after 3 out and rider nearly unseated, began to stay on under a ride from 2 out and closed on those ahead, was some 10 lengths down last, driven, kept on, took 4th run-in – not pushing it to suggest that the stumble just after the third last cost him 3rd to Ardamir. FInished 2nd but was beaten further behind Nibblers Charm in Galway Tribes Hurdle at Galway last time, nudged along and edged closer approaching 2 out, hard ridden after it, driven with a bit to do home turn, passed a couple approaching last, took 2nd early on run-in, driven, kept on, no impression on winner, just got 2nd. For me he’s shaping as though wanting 2m4f, and one to swerve for that reason
Star Maker
Notable C/D win when beating Tudor City – before that one went on to land the Galway Hurdle – in a Grade B hurdle last May, started a move after 5th, midfield on inner 6th, moved comfortably turning out of back straight, ridden into and mistake 3 out, still moved largely comfortably after and edged closer, shaken up after 2 out and switched round rival to get a clear run, ran on and led last, driven out, stayed on well, was closed on last 100 yards but always holding on. Hasn’t been near that since, last seen at Down Royal in November, held up, edged closer approaching 5th, ridden into 7th, niggled along after, soon more firmly pushed along, well back and losing ground on leaders approaching 3 out, left alone nearing it and tailed off from there, completed in own time, kept on a bit run-in and appeared to have running in him passing the post, though tailed off behind Janidil. Has won after a 136-day absence before – longer break this time but hard to leave out, though should bear in mind that all hurdles wins have been on good ground (placed on soft on the Flat)
Won 80-116 handicap at Kilbeggan on July 17th, closing in midfield 7th going comfortably, niggled along and loomed upsides leaders bend before last, sent on approaching it, clear jumping, pushed out, stayed on well, decisive from Moonball; good 4th to Dollys Destination at Downpatrick last time, niggled along approaching 7th and headway widest of all, pushed along and headway approaching 2 out, ridden along in 4 or 5 lengths 5th, sustained effort and closed on leaders but again ended up widest of all bend before last, took 3rd early on run-in, hard ridden, kept on one pace final furlong,  stuck to task but lost 3rd close home. Covered more ground than the other principals and a good run, entitling him to a chance here
Arthurian Fame
Been busy since the resumption, four starts (two Flat, two hurdles), and best form came last time in a rated novice hurdle at Sligo on August 5th, 3rd to Anna Bunina, edged closer 6th, within 2 lengths 3 out, crowded bend before 2 out, tracked leaders at most nudged along nearing it, niggled along approaching home turn, had to go widest of all (around five horsewidths) approaching last, ridden into it, a length and a half down and in close, hard ridden, carried head a little high, picked up final 150 yards, finished fastest and took 3rd final strides, just failed to get 2nd. Didn’t get the rub of the green, near-enough squashed with a horse both sides approaching the second last, and having to turn for home widest of all losing ground – should have finished at least 2nd, possibly even won. Successful off a mark of 94 on the Flat (the ballpark-standard for a Class 2 handicap in Britain), chances in his first handicap hurdle
First win over hurdles when taking a Bellewstown maiden on July 8th, led, pushed along approaching last, stayed on in front, 5 lengths up run-in, pushed out, stayed on well, decisive from Belfast Banter. In his first handicap hurdle didn’t run to expectations in Galway Tribes behind Nibblers Charm at Galway, niggled along away from 6th, closer order after 7th and tracked leaders turning out of back straight, niggled along and disputed lead approaching 2 out, hard ridden after it, put under pressure home turn, outpaced and couldn’t go with leader approaching last, weakened under pressure run-in, looked heavy-legged final 150 yards, dropped further back and finished tired. Looked in a spot of bother around halfway and yet turned up to hold every chance disputing the lead on the run to the second last, so despite giving the impression he wasn’t on his A-game (yet to win right-handed), has run much better than his position – was ahead of Poseidon turning for home for one thing and is preferred to that one
Bective Cave
This 12 year-old came back after the resumption with a Kilbeggan win in an 80-116 handicap hurdle, edged closer and tracked leaders bend before 2 out, travelled comfortably, niggled along and produced to challenge bend before last, soon shaken up, found extra and led/soon clear, hard ridden approaching last, some 5 lengths up jumping, pushed out, stayed on well, decisive. Settled this in strides approaching the last to beat Thousand Tears.  Only eight days later a bit below that over fences at Tramore, mistake 9th, within a length bend before 2 out, pushed along, every chance 2 out, ridden and outpaced approaching last, lost 3rd jumping, faded final strides behind Bridge Native. A fully exposed horse who’s had 3,000 races – well, it seems like that – he’s normally raced off handicap marks in the 90s, so it could be suggested that his winning off 114 at Kilbeggan came out of nowhere – he’s unlikely to be troubling the judge here, particularly as he’s never won left-handed
Born By The Sea
Good runs on all three (yes, three) starts at Galway, the first on the Flat, the second in an opportunity riders’ handicap hurdle; led at a steady to medium pace, disputed it from 6th, was joined on all sides as pace increased going to 2 out, moved largely comfortably, shaken up 2 out, stayed on home turn, led last, hard ridden and stayed on run-in, hard driven last 150 yards, was closed on, 1st 2 clear, headed final strides, no extra – had no answer to Loudest Whisper’s turn of foot but a good run from the front, well placed in a steadily-run race. Third Galway-run was in a 50-75 handicap, disputed lead home turn, pushed along 2f out, every chance, hard ridden straightening, outpaced entering final furlong, faded last 150 yards behind Eight And Bob. There’s competition for the lead here but his chance on his hurdles-form at Galway is a good one
The Mouse Doctor*
Best to date over hurdles when taking a 0-130 handicap at Musselburgh in January, edged closer turning out of back straight, nudged along and headway going to 3 out, tracked leaders 2 out, produced to challenge on landing and shaken up, wandered a little, led narrowly last, pushed along and readily drew clear, not hard ridden to maintain clear advantage run-in, readily from Seaborough. Ran okay in Ladbroke at Leopardstown next time, niggled along passing omitted 2 out, more firmly ridden approaching home turn, effort and within 3 or 4 lengths approaching last under a ride, chance of a place jumping, hard driven and weakened run-in, no more, lost further ground last 150 yards. Back to form on the third of three Flat runs since coming back after resumption, last time at Leopardstown on August 6th, rapid headway to dispute lead 3f out, hard ridden home turn, led 2f out, hard driven, headed 300 yards out, faded last 150 yards. Could do something

Shortlist: Moon Over Germany, Rasiym, The Mouse Doctor

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.