LISTOWEL Sat: We’re looking to the Harvest Festival at Listowel this weekend where we have eight races, featuring a mixture of maiden, novice and handicap races over both hurdles and fences.
⭕ The action kicks off with a two-mile four-year-olds’ maiden hurdle (1.35pm). Wandering Rocks switches codes here having been useful on the Flat for James Fanshawe, and may improve for his new task and could be one for the placings. Willie Mullins’ Ninth Loch, though, who was a close second to The Wallpark – subsequently the winner of a novice hurdle – last time out, has the strongest form on view here and should be able to win in these conditions.
⭕ Next is a 2m4f novices’ hurdle (2.10pm). Baltic Bird, the youngest of the field, has taken well to obstacles, keeping consistent and winning a maiden hurdle by 12 lengths last month, and could take advantage of his weight allowance and five-pound claiming rider to run for at least a place. Course and distance winner High Class Hero has won both starts this season and should be seeking a hat-trick, going well on softer going, will be suited by this left-handed track and should have no excuses.
⭕ The third race is a 2m4f handicap hurdle (2.45pm). Buddy One has placed twice in Grade 3 company and, stepping back up to his better trip, could take advantage of his seven-pound claiming rider to win this. He outclasses the field by some way, but could be seconded by the improving Marelly, who reappears for the season here having achieved two wins and three places from nine starts over hurdles.
⭕ Following is a 2m4f handicap (3.20pm). Indie Belle won two chases at the end of last season, and reappears over hurdles here. Having gone well fresh in the past, and being suited by softer ground, she should have all conditions in her favour and can win this off her current hurdles mark of 94. Gekkota carries top-weight but, having placed in a two-mile contest last week, could have a shot at the placings.
⭕ Our fifth race is another 2m4f handicap hurdle (3.55pm). Vintage Gold won his last start over hurdles at this trip on a more testing track, having switched codes, and – if returning in the same form – should have this all to play for under a five-pound claimer. Hard Target looks to be his main rival, also with a five-pound claimer in the saddle, but Vintage Gold – only a four-year-old – has plenty of improvement yet to come.
⭕ Next is a handicap chase over 2m6f (4.30pm). This is a race with plenty of depth, so is a tough call, but six-year-old course and distance winner Mica Malpic looks very interesting, having lately finished third to Desertmore House, who went on to win the G3 Kerry National. He should like the conditions and has been very consistent this term, with one win and two places from four starts. Stepping back down to a more suitable trip, he should be the one to beat at the weights. Brideswell Lad looks a likely contender for the placings.
⭕ The penultimate race is a three-mile chase (5.05pm). Definiteadare cannot be discounted having won on soft ground last time out, going up 10 pounds in the ratings, and is given seven pounds by his rider here. He should be able to place here. Galon De Vauzelle, however, is a very consistent type who reappears for the season here and has gone well fresh in the past. With a seven-pound claimer riding, he could win this.
⭕ Finally, we have a two-mile bumper to conclude the afternoon’s racing (5.40pm). Malpark is a notable debutant, being half-brother to four winners including classy handicapper Kilcarry Bridge, but is likely best watched here. Intense Approach could be our winner here having won by 14 lengths in a 170furlong bumper in July, and having the benefit of a claiming rider to boot.