The John Kiely trained Saint Gervais would be a fitting winner on Clonmel’s Holy Thursday card and judging by the form book he is the horse everyone has to beat when he lines up in the second race, the www.thetote.com Maiden Hurdle.
With the ground likely to be very quick, I expect a number of late non-runners and form on quick ground will be essential to a horse’s chances. Saint Gervais demolished a very useful field in a bumper on good ground at the Galway Festival last July. He followed up in impressive style at Listowel in a small runner field just a few weeks later but since then he has been somewhat of a disappointment. There is no doubting that he has a tonne of ability but sometimes his temperament is questionable. On his latest run he finished second to Primroseandblue, beaten by the shortest of margins. On that occasion he joined the winner at the last and tended to throw his head about in the air. Usually I would avoid a horse that shows signs of a bad temperament but this was the first time he looked un-genuine and I’m putting it down to a slight injury rather than bad temperament. I tipped up Five Point Plan when he won his bumper, beating another runner in today’s field An Dearthair Og. The original plan after that success was to aim him at the Rockview bumper at the Curragh but Philip Fenton has obviously had a change of mind. He is a likeable individual but is up against it on his hurdles debut against a horse like Saint Gervais.
The opening contest at 4.25 looks a match between Prince Ludovic and Tales Of Milan, however, both have ground concerns and a horse at a massive price that may be worth having a small each-way punt on is Killarney Time. The Andrew McNamara trained filly has placed flat form on good-to-firm ground and if fit she may well run into a place this evening.
The www.thetote.com Handicap Hurdle at 5.25 looks a really competitive affair and it may go the way of Carlowsantana. Ian McCarthy takes a valuable 5lbs off the son of Blue Ocean and he has a great chance of getting back to winning ways now reverting to the smaller obstacles.
Mayo Mystique is likely to be a short priced favourite in the www.thetote.com Mares Beginners Steeplechase at 5.55. Her second to Dare To Doubt reads very well and in a race that lacks any strength in depth she should have no trouble landing her short odds.
Resolute Bay is a horse with winning form on quick ground and he can give Davy Russell and Gigginstown yet another novice chase winner. Trained by Philip Fenton, the son of Presenting has always looked like a chaser in the making and now that he has his preferred good ground he could very well be a decent novice chaser. The fact that he hasn’t been seen since November is a slight concern but Fenton is well able to ready one when he needs to and if he is 100% I expect him to go very close this evening.
Ruby Walsh’s best chance of a winner may come in the www.thetote.com Handicap Steeplechase at 6.55 when he takes the mount on Jim Lambe’s Auenschutze. Last seen when third to Dantes King at Down Royal, this eight-year-old son of Tiger Hill will love the quick ground and should take all the beating.
The concluding bumper looks a weak race on paper but Nina Carberry riding for John Kiely is something to take note of and they team up with the newcomer Kilbarry Beauty.