The rules on non-runners/reserves have changed 12 months on in thetote.com Galway Plate (7:20) but you’d be forgiven for thinking a similar situation has arisen with regard to tactical non-runners.
Some Neck, owned by Susannah Ricci, and Drumcliff, owned by J.P. McManus were declared non-runners yesterday morning and replaced by Pylonthepressure, owned by Ricci, and Movewiththetimes, owned by McManus.
Both of those horses now occupy second and third positions in the market outright and in particular, Movewiththetimes, the former Paul Nicholls-trained gelding now in the care of Enda Bolger, has been well backed. Second in the Betfair Hurdle as a novice hurdler, he was always a horse of potential and so is interesting now off 135 for his new trainer.
However of the aforementioned pair, Pylonthepressure looks a little more solid. He also has shown plenty of potential in his younger but since going chasing, his jumping has been the main cause of disappointment. This was particularly evident when he finished fifth in the National Hunt Chase last year despite taking nearly every fence with him. That performance suggests he must have a big engine and he showed how good he can be on his previous run, when only just touched off by Peregrine Run in the Mayo National.
If his jumping is sorted out now, he’s a big threat off a mark of 136 and could go very well off a light weight today.
It’s good to see four British raiders in the race. Paul Nicholls trains two of them and all the chat has been about Black Corton and Bryony Frost. However Nicholls, who won the Plate in 2008 with Oslot, might have a better chance with his other runner Modus. Another one owned by J.P. McManus, this nine-year-old is talented on his day, and his day is definitely when he is fresh. His record off a break of at least 60 days reads: 11821361113 and that includes some excellent efforts in defeat - a second in the Champion Bumper and a sixth in a Coral Cup.
He reappears today off a break 138 days and runs off a mark of 144 which reads well when you take into account he was rated 156 last year.
There has been a couple of notable non-runners, Scaglietti and Noble Expression, in the concluding Play The Tote Superfecta Handicap (8:30) and the end result is that Eight And Bob is a short-priced favourite. One who may be underrated against him is Tony Martin’s Upgraded, who finished sixth to Uradel in the Connacht Hotel Handicap off a mark of 79 last season. She races off 65 today and comes into this off her best effort in some time when second to Flicker Flame at Ballinrobe.
The Sign Up For A Tote Account Irish EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle (6:10) is a wide open affair but Walking In Memphis looks a worthy favourite. Still available at around the 6/1 mark, Gavin Cromwell’s mare looks worth siding with after her impressive maiden hurdle win at Downpatrick. She races off a 10lb higher mark but is open to loads of progression now.
6:10 Walking In Memphis
7:20 Pylonthepressure, Modus