Listowel Race Preview, 21/09/2020

Monday September 21st

Listowel 3.10
Liam Healy Memorial Lartigue Handicap Hurdle 4-y-o Grade B
2m – Going: Good – 17 runners

Beat A Wave Of The Sea in Grade 3 juvenile at Fairyhouse on December 1st; bettered the form in Grade 1 Spring Juvenile at Leopardstown in February, though for me got out of winning; chased leader 2 out, hard ridden home turn, stayed on, effort and about to lead when left in front last, hard driven, weakened notably inside last 100 yards and lost 1st then 2nd to A Wave Of The Sea and Wolf Prince in final 50 yards. Several mistakes in Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, mistake 5th, blundered 6th, struggling towards rear under a push approaching 2 out, stayed on approaching home turn and passed a couple, put under pressure some 200 yards off last, didn’t find more, looked held when left 6th and mistake/went left last, kept on final 175 yards. Shaped well on return on the Flat at Navan over just 1m2f, outpaced last three furlongs before staying on strongly, passing several to take 3rd close home and nothing finished faster. No stand-out and worried his lack of resolution might resurface, but has a chance
Fujimoto Flyer
Winning hurdling debut at Killarney in August last year; best form when 2nd to Solo in Adonis at Kempton last February, midfield on inner, keen, mistake 1st, in close to 4th, closer order 5th, nudged along after 3 out, moved well enough but no run on inner home turn, pushed along last part of the bend, stayed on into 2nd approaching 2 out, was 2 lengths ahead of the 3rd and increasing that under a ride between last 2 but no chance with Solo, hard ridden and kept on run-in, no impression. Take out Solo and he’d have been a good winner; he wasn’t seen out again and this is his first run since, but he’d been off between September 2019 and the Adonis, so he might be okay fitness-wise
Saint D’oroux
Wide margin-winner at Gowran Park on heavy ground in February 2019; which he backed up with his best form in Boodles Juvenile Handicap at Cheltenham, disputed lead going comfortably 2 out, led home turn, hard ridden approaching last, put under pressure and faded nearing it, half a length down jumping, stuck to task, no impression on 1st 2 who pulled clear but held on to 3rd well. On first start since, first hurdles run against his elders and on good ground, was disappointing at Bellewstown in July behind Ardamir, good headway approaching turn out of back straight going comfortably and prominent home turn, half a chance when mistake 3 out, pushed along and lost place going to 2 out and well back in 9th, but ran better in 4-y-o novice on softer going at Galway later that month, led 5th, disputed it after 6th, not fluent 7th, moved comfortably approaching 2 out, travelled better approaching 2 out, pushed along after it, hard driven, faded under strong pressure home turn, looked held jumping last disputing 2nd, hard driven, weakened last 150 yards, lost ground on 1st 2 and was being closed on by the 4th last strides. Faced with the uphill finish, he didn’t get home – looked the winner going to the second last, but only 3rd to reopposing Guinevere in the end. With no rain in the forecast and the ground good things perhaps aren’t in his favour, but comes here in good form
Anna Bunina*
Lost her way in Winter but came back after the resumption in good form, unlucky at Bellewstown in July on first run back, mistake 6th, ridden into 7th, last of leading group of 4 which pulled well clear approaching turn out of back straight, good headway round rivals home turn, within 2 lengths 3 out, shaken up, stayed on, was challenging leader and had drawn upsides when steadied into and unseated rider 2 out. Not sure she’d have beaten the winner Laura Bullion, but she’d definitely have been 2nd ahead of King Pellenor, and it would have been close. Made amends at Cork later that month, chased leader approaching 6th, further ground to lead turning out of back straight, moved best off home turn, led 2 lengths 3 out, not hard ridden to pull further clear approaching 2 out,  well ahead when steadied into last, pushed out, readily with plenty in hand by 11 lengths from reopposing Guinevere – followed that up with a harder-fought success from Jon Ess and Arthurian Fame at Sligo in August. Claims on this hattrick bid (might have been trying for a four-timer had she stood up at Bellewstown)
Cafe Con Leche
Won at Clonmel on heavy in early March, then best form last season when following up at Limerick, again on heavy, later that month, chased leader, steady pace, not fluent 2nd, pace increased before 7th, ridden into it, challenged leader approaching home turn, niggled along and not going as well as leader turning in, shaken up, did travel strongest when led nearing 2 out and was 2 lengths up jumping, ridden and ran on to draw well clear approaching last, not hard ridden to maintain advantage over Great Bear run-in. On only hurdles run so far since resumption, on much better going than at Limerick was well outpaced at Roscommon on July 13th, niggled along 4 out, held place turning out of back straight, hard ridden home turn, held place and still a chance 3 out, hard ridden and outpaced going to 2 out, steadied into it and well held, dropped back going to last, well-held 5th behind The Very Man and Recent Revelations. better form on the Flat since at Limerick on September 11th, but that was softer ground, and he’s not placed when running on officially good ground. Visored first time; his trainer Denis Hogan’s only previous runner first up in this headgear finished 12th
Won at Cork in July, then after a couple of good runs on the Flat, best hurdles run to date when winning at Ballinrobe on August 24th, held up, not fluent 1st, ridden into 4th, headway and tracked leaders 6th, ridden into 2 out, headway on inner and chased leader bend before last, led nearing it, was 3 lengths up jumping, not hard ridden to draw further clear by home turn, continued to go clear without being hard ridden run-in, readily with something in hand from Swelltime. Going somewhere on that evidence and worth his place in this field
Won on the Flat at Roscommon on July 7th. First win over hurdles – showing marked improvement in the process – when winning at Wexford on September 5th, led, ridden into 1st, headed bend after 3rd, chased leader after, not fluent 4th, led 5th, ridden into 6th and 8th, in close to 9th, travelled comfortably turning out of back straight, niggled along home turn, a length up 2 out, firmly pushed along, stayed on, in close to last, ridden out, stayed on well run-in to pull further clear. Albeit with his mind made up for him several times, jumped soundly and looked straightforward in beating Hammersmith just over 4 lengths; might not get the lead to himself against the likes of Saint D’oroux, Politicise and Swelltime, but chances
More miles on the clock than some, but won over hurdles – on his sixth attempt – at Kilbeggan over 2m3f in July; two starts later produced his best form to date over timber in a 4-y-o novice at Galway in July, disputed lead, headed 5th, disputed it after 6th, niggled along and not going as well as Saint D’oroux approaching 2 out, ridden and stayed on approaching home turn, found extra and led 2 to 3 lengths over last, hard driven, all out, was closed on 200 yards out, headed 100 yards out, no extra. Good run, but ended up a sitting duck for a finisher, and Guinevere took advantage. Didn’t get home at Downpatrick last time behind Dollys Destination, hard driven and faded approaching last, was bumped nearing it, some 5 lengths behind looking held home turn, weakened straight, looked very heavy-legged and was stopping to a walk last 100 yards. Didn’t run much better on the Flat at Tipperary last Tuesday. Won’t have the lead to himself here but might run well
Only the three starts over hurdles but won on the second of them, at Gowran Park in July, prominent, mistake 1st, headway and led approaching 2nd, raced keenly, clear going to 4th, ridden into and blundered 3 out, pushed along home turn, stayed on in front going to 2 out, steadied into it and left clear, pushed along, stayed on and was some 15 lengths up last, driven out though no challenger was near, stayed on well, unchallenged. Forcefully ridden, responded well to the tactics.  Could do nothing about Yafordadoe at Ballinrobe last time under different tactics, relegated to 4th by 6th, raced wide going to 2 out, niggled along after it, hard ridden bend before last and making little impression, driven after it and took 3rd home turn, sustained effort and took 2nd 200 yards out, no impression, kept on till jockey stopped pushing when certain of 2nd last 100 yards. Shaped as though that was too sharp, readily outpaced on the final circuit, and would probably be better off reverting to racing prominently
Laura Bullion
Won at Bellewstown in July, possibly fortunate as Anna Bunina was challenging strongly when unseating at the second last, then 4th to Rescue Package at Kilbeggan on July 17th, blundered 6th, closer order 2 out, hard driven and one pace approaching bend before last, stayed on approaching last and closed on 1st 2, no extra after last, faded under pressure last 125 yards. Perhaps a weak finish there and, under a change of tactics, dropped away at the end more markedly at Ballinrobe last time, led, niggled along approaching 2 out, pushed along approaching bend before last, hard driven and was challenged srongly approaching last, readily headed, looked heavy-legged jumping, put under pressure, weakened, got tired and lost 2nd then 3rd last 200 yards behind Yafordadoe and Swelltime. Usual blinkers swapped for cheekpieces – her trainer Noel Meade is 2 from 11 with runners first time in that headgear since the beginning of 2019
Red Gerry*
With blinkers refitted, got his first win over hurdles at Punchestown last time, prominent, mistake 3rd, tracked leaders when in close to 3 out, ridden along, made up 2 lengths quickly and challenged leaders soon after 2 out, led going best home turn, pushed along straightening, 1st 2 pulled clear, found extra going to last, 3 lengths up jumping, ridden out, stayed on well to pull further clear, workmanlike and decisive. The way he made up ground quickly going to the second last was taking and, with blinkers on again, could go well
Bear Claws
First win over hurdles when going in at Tramore on August 13th, chased clear leader, himself clear of the rest, began to close on leader when niggled along approaching 3 out, gradually reeled him in and only a length down bend before 2 out, shaken up approaching it, found extra and led jumping, ridden along, stayed on well in front approaching last, steadied into it, all out run-in, driven out, stayed on to maintain advantage last 100 yards. Professional rather than spectacular in beating Marmolata but good attitude under pressure
Dinard Rose
No form since the resumption, the reapplication of blinkers coming to nothing in mares’ handicap at Galway in July – she just didn’t want to know, needing a vigorous ride to make a start and trailing round on and off the bit till losing touch after the 6th. Not for me
Having been trounced behind Anna Bunina at Cork in July, got her first and only win to date over hurdles when getting there late to pick off Politicise at Galway later that month. Failed to stay 2m2f at Kilbeggan next time but returned to form when 3rd to Getaway Gorgeous at Punchestown last time, mistake 2nd, nudged along away from 3rd, niggled along in 3 to 4 lengths 4th approaching 3 out, mistake there, ridden along 2 out, faded under pressure home turn, kept on and took 3rd approaching last, no impression on 2nd run-in but stuck to task, beaten 10 lengths. Didn’t impress with her jumping at Punchestown and is blinkered first time – her trainer R P Cody has never had a blinkered runner
Marvel Fan
Winning chaser back in January 2020 when trained by Guillaume Macaire, but tailed off in five starts since joining Tony Martin, first behind Café Con Leche over hurdles at Limerick in March, then in four Flat races, starting at 200/1 and 250/1 on his last two, both at Galway. Best watched
Futurum Regem
Maiden on the Flat and over hurdles, best run over the longest trip he’s tried – 2m5f – when behind William Of Wykeham at Ballinrobe in July, led on the long run to the last but challenged by the winner who was travelling on the bit whilst this one was having the ears ridden off him, and was left behind after the last. A lot to find here
Maiden on the Flat and over hurdles, best run when 2nd to Bear Claws at Tramore in August, clear lead, reeled in final circuit, hard ridden going to 2 out and headed by the winner jumping, no more from last and faded, being caught by the 3rd in the last 75 yards. Plenty to find

Shortlist: Anna Bunina, Isotope, Red Gerry

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.