LAST week’s Time Will Tell was so focused on events at the Dublin Racing Festival that I managed to leave out any reference to the Grade 3 Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse the day after Leopardstown. It was a decent race of its type and should have a bearing on events at Cheltenham in a few weeks’ time.
Roseys Hollow (137) won from the penalised Royal Kahala (138) and Gauloise (135), and the three are disputing favouritism for the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at the Festival, with the first-named the one on the most upward trajectory at present. Mighty Blue (128) in fourth is another with untapped potential judged on what she was capable of on the flat.
Another mare to advance her claims for next month was Elimay, winner of the Listed BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase at Naas last Saturday, not having to run especially fast (139 timefigure) to beat Shattered Love and Yukon Lil, but doing it impressively enough while conceding weight.
A review of Elimay’s previous form has encouraged me to edge her and Allaho up a couple to 158 and 163 respectively, the pair having finished second and first in the Kinloch Brae at Thurles in January.
The maiden hurdle won by Gentleman De Mee was comfortably fastest of five races at a shortened two miles on that Naas card, and this probably represents useful form from the winner (rated 137). Druid’s Altar was 2.0s slower and carried 10lb less in winning the four-year-old hurdle (114 timefigure here, but 128 previously).
Thedevilscoachman was just about the best winner on an ordinary Punchestown card on Sunday, though that was not reflected in his overall time (a mere 101 timefigure) in a very slowly run race. His win at Navan in January had been much quicker, and he can be rated 146 – one of the better novice hurdlers around – on balance.
That suggests the placed horses at Navan – Visionarian (135) and Riviere d’Etel (139) – achieved more than it might have appeared at first and will be of interest in future engagements, also. Farmix (137) and The Big Dog (143) were other useful winners at Punchestown.
Jump racing has been fairly quiet in Britain of late, in part due to some particularly challenging weather. Only the hurdle races survived at Exeter’s meeting on Sunday, but there were a couple of above-average winners in Wilde About Oscar and Brinkley.
The former managed a 139 timefigure, raised to 143 on sectionals, in beating The Glancing Queen and Oscar Elite readily in a listed novice hurdle, the only blemish on his record as a hurdler being when pulled up in a Grade 1 the time before.
The staying handicap hurdle won by Brinkley looks pretty solid form of its type, and the lightly raced gelding is now up to a figure of 145 as a result.
Highland Hunter already looks like being better over fences than he was over hurdles, his novice handicap chase win under top-weight at Carlisle on Tuesday worth a figure of at least 135 in my book.