CeeBee previews the Clonmel Oil Chase card with a number of bets advised including a Yankee and a Fourfold.
Clonmel – Thursday 12th November
2.25 The Clonmel Oil Chase
This is the feature race today. In fact it’s the feature race of the year at Clonmel racecourse. It’s also the starting point for our yankee.
Road to Riches is the selection. With a record of 112 when first time out after a Summer break, and other victories including the Galway Plate coming off the back of shorter breaks, he’ll be close to 100% here. He was ready for Down Royal apparently. Last season Meade was in a rush to get him ready for Gowran in October, but that’s not the case here. He has plenty in hand on this lot so should have no excuses.
Felix Yonger has won 4 on the bounce but it’s more down to smart placing that being a dominant G1 horse in my opinion. Mallowney hit the front far too soon when FY beat him in Cork. FY then went on to win a soft hurdle race before defeating Argocat, Raithlin and Baily Green back over fences. He was a mid-150s horse for a long time and I think his current mark of 160 overrates him a little. Whereas Road To Riches deserves every pound of 165 in my opinion (JN Wine and Lexus wins before a 3L 3rd in the Gold Cup). Whilst this trip may not be ideal for RTR (coped with it in Galway under an aggressive ride), I’d argue FY is definitely better at 2miles. Plenty of his defeats have come when stepped up in trip.
Mallowney too would be better at 2miles, but my biggest worry with him is that he has never made much of an impression first time out after a break. He may need the run here. Bright New Dawn is very unreliable and First Lieutenant looks gone at the game, unfortunately.
Road to Riches should have his own way out front and gallop to an uncomplicated victory.
2.55 Mares Listed Chase
Well you need 4 horses for a yankee so in goes Vroum Vroum Mag. If she stands up she wins.
She’s rated 23lbs better than here closest rival so despite conceding up to 12lbs in penalties and allowances I’d be shocked if this wasn’t a straightforward victory. There have been no anxious moments in any of her five starts for Willie since joining from France.
3.25 2m2f Handicap Chase
We take a significant drop in class for our next selection, Deano.
Two course visits have yielded a win and a second, both on today’s likely soft ground and over 16f and 18f respectively. There’s nothing in this test that should cause problems. With a recent 3rd beaten 2L over hurdles to blow the cobwebs off he shouldn’t have any fitness worries early in the season either. Coming from a small yard it’s very encouraging that their last 3 (4 if including Deano) runners have either won or placed.
Deano won a handicap hurdle at Thurles this time last year before turning his attention to the larger obstacles in the spring. After two close seconds he got off the mark with a fine 13L victory here at Clonmel. With just the bare 3 beginners chase outings over fences he’s very much an unexposed handicap chaser. With a chase mark only 8lbs higher than his current competitive hurdles mark he’s certainly not handicapped to the hilt either.
Horse in form, yard in form, workable mark, good course form, what’s not to like?
3.55 2m Conditions Hurdle
The finale on the card provides us with the last leg of our yankee, Home Farm.
The selection was rated 153 over fences when last appearing back in April. When the 6/4 favourite Noble Inn last jumped a hurdle he was tailed off when running off a mark of 131. Ok one is more of a staying chaser and the other has ran well on the flat recently but 22lbs is quiet a difference in class.
What helps the case for Home Farm is the fact his best outing (by far) last season was first time out for the season. He won a listed 2m6f chase at Thurles. Hidden Cyclone was challenging at the last when departing but regardless of what would’ve happened it was a good run. His season went downhill from there (some of it in the highest of company to be fair) but the inform Henry De Bromhead is a trainer who’s more than capable of bringing him back to his best. All his wins have come over 2m6f and shorter so he’s not a dour stayer short of pace. In fact his seasonal return the season before last was over 2miles, a rated chase, and he came close to winning that.
Noble Inn looked a potentially smart 4yo hurdler but put in 3 poor runs later that spring (his last hurdle outings). After a year off he returned on the flat 2mts ago. An easy victory off 69 and a short head defeat off 82 suggest he may have improved for turning 5 but it’s possible the mark of 69, based on French flat form before he joined Willie, was simply far too low for his quality.
Gladiator King hasn’t been running well on the flat recently and may be saving his mark for a bigger prize. On his sole hurdles victory he travelled well but his resolution didn’t convince me in the finishing battle.
Home Farm is overpriced against these.
Road to Riches 11/10 – Coral & Betfair Sportsbook
Vroum Vroum Mag 2/9 – Bet365 & SkyBet
Deano 10/1 – Betfair Sportsbook
Home Farm 6/1 – Bet365, BetVictor & Coral
Best combined odds at time of writing Betfair Sportsbook 180/1 fourfold, Coral next at 140/1.