CeeBee previews Sunday's Troytown Chase card at Navan and he has bets advised on Woodland Opera, Dromnea and Foxrock.
12.40 Maiden Hurdle
Despite having decent form on paper Potters Point was, to my eyes, a very unimpressive bumper horse last year. On more than one occasion he had a horrible high head carriage and hung slightly as well. He’s not one I’ll possibly ever take a shine to, but it certainly won’t be in a 2m hurdle. This fella probably needs 3 miles and a fence before we’ll see the best of him. The galloping track and soft ground will help, but at 5/4 I’m happy to take him on.
Woodland Opera represents the in-form Jessica Harrington team. She won both Punchestown bumpers last weekend and had an impressive winning chase debut from Ttebbob on Thursday. Woodland Opera himself won a Leopardstown bumper on his sole appearance last season. Interestingly the 4th home that day, Lip Service, has twice ran against Potters Point since and whilst collateral form is dangerous, especially with Tony Martin bumper horses, It suggests Potters Point and Woodland Opera are about equal. Fugi Mountain who was 2nd behind Woodland Opera at Leopardstown has won three bumpers during the summer for WP Mullins.
Woodland Opera is the obvious alternative to the jolly.
2 point win Woodland Opera 11/4 with Boylesports (5/2 with Paddy Power and Betfair Sports)
No bet in the Monksfield at 1.10 but a watching (and recording) brief is advised. There are some smart horses in there.
Douvan wins the 2.10 and if you do want to get involved I’d happily recommend backing the overs winning margin (unless it’s crazy) as nothing (especially in green & gold) will be trying to get close to him. For reference Vautour won by 8L first time up last season but he had Clarcam chasing him. Un de Sceaux won his (tipped up first time) by 12L despite having Smashing in opposition. Blair Perrone hasn’t taken to fences. I’ll take a stab at 18L for Douvan.
14.40 Troytown Chase 3miles
The Troytown Chase is the big race of the day. The most important betting angle here is there’s only 15 runners so each way 3 places is very poor value.
Gordon Elliott’s team landed a decent touch here last year with the ill-fated Balbriggan. He runs 4 this time in an attempt to retain the prize. None of the four are appealing though. Azorian has trip question marks and looks somewhat exposed. If Gordon had this in mind he wouldn’t have had him gain 6lbs since he got him. Bonisland with little chasing experience and coming back from 400 days is hard to fancy. Riverside City has been poor since winning the Ulster National last year. Georges Conn is the most interesting of the 4 as he’s unexposed in handicaps but the trip and ground are somewhat unknown.
Mullaghanoe River is expected to be a G1 chaser by Noel Meade. Rated 134 currently his trainer believes he could have 20lbs in hand. Whether he’s fit enough to show it after 580 days off must be a worry. His jumping also left a bit to be desired on a few occasions as a novice.
I’d prefer both Empire of Dirt and Aurora Bell if they had had a prep run for this. Neither come from yards which I’d trust to have one 100% straight first time out.
Dromnea is the one I like. He finished 2L behind Rossvoss last weekend (2m6f soft) with He’s Busy a further 5L behind in 4th. Rossvoss now has a 6lb penalty whilst the other two are off the same mark (He’s Busy may have 2lbs overweight) so Dromnea is weighed to come out on top of the trio.
The selection is untried at 3miles but the way he was staying on one-paced over 2m6f last time was encouraging. Out of a Commanche Run mare (who wasn’t very good but was a stayer) will help with stamina. He was 3rd in a competitive novice handicap chase at Punchestown last spring and is just 1lb higher now. Irish Cavalier was 2nd and is now 11lbs higher. Dromnea has a decent handicap mark, he’s been competitive from it the last twice. An improvement in fitness and step-up in trip might get him over the line.
The in-form duo of Tulsa Jack and Ballychorus are the most likely to give our selection something to think about but at double the price I’d prefer Dromnea.
1.5 points win Dromnea at 12/1 with Stan James
15.10 Handicap Hurdle 2m7f
All eyes will be on Foxrock here. He was 5th beaten 10L in this race last year when ‘out for a spin’. He lost his shoes (insert joke here) next time before going on to improve 22lbs throughout the season. This leaves him rated a full 34lbs lower over hurdles now. Many (Bookmakers included) will expect he’ll just be out for a spin to blow the cobwebs off before the Durkan and/or Lexus but there’s two reasons I think Ted will have him a little more forward than he was last year.
Firstly is last year’s well documented Punchestown debacle. Connections will be eager not to give him a quiet/suspicious ride again. The second might be a bit of a stretch but with the way Alan Fleming is firing in winners for Barry Connell, especially having also got a few like The Tullow Tank from other yards, I wonder will Ted be eager to keep up. Unlike some other big owners Barry likes his horses to try and win as often as possible. Having the 162 rated chaser Foxrock fit enough to win off 128 shouldn’t be too difficult.
He wasn’t beaten too far here last year, it was Heskin’s first time on-board, the horse has improved immensely since and 2m7f on soft/heavy won’t be a problem either.
1 point win Foxrock at 10/1 with Paddy Power, Betway and BetVictor