The Dark Horse leaves Galway and Goodwood to one side on Wednesday and has 3 selections at Perth.
Perth 2.15 – Bellgrove
Bellgrove returns to the track after a 156 day break and looks to have a good chance of gaining a first win over hurdles. He won a bumper at this course on good ground last year on his first start for Ian Semple before running well in another bumper at the course carrying a penalty.
He ran well on all 3 starts over hurdles during the Autumn/Winter. On the first of those at Musselburgh, he made much of the running before being headed between 3 out and 2 out, finishing 3rd. That looked a decent race, with the winner, Franciscan, finishing 3rd in a Listed hurdle next time, the runner up, Clever Cookie, finishing a close 2nd next time before winning 2 handicaps and a Grade 2, and the 5th, Figaro, winning a handicap off 115 3 starts later.
Bellgrove looked to find 2m4f too far next time when 2nd to Mandarin Sunset, before returning to 2m in a handicap for the first time on his most recent start, and was beaten ¾l in 2nd off 112.
Bellgrove has been keen in the early stages of a few of his races and his jumping has been sloppy at times, and those could hold him back on his first start for 156, as could the possibility of him needing the run.
It is hoped that Dougie Costello will settle him in front and make all here against 2 horses carrying penalties (Moss Street 7lb, Nathan’s Pride 14lb) that have their own flaws.
Perth 5.10 – Blueside Boy
Blueside Boy has his first opportunity to race on good ground over obstacles under rules today, and that could cause him to show what he is truly capable of.
A winner of a point to point at Lisronagh on good ground in 2012, he had 3 runs for Lucinda Russell in 2012 before an injured fetlock caused him to be off the track for exactly a year. On his return over hurdles, he ran a promising race to finish 3rd.
He showed promise once again on his first run over fences at Carlisle, where he travelled best before not getting up the hill on heavy ground. He travelled quite well at Kelso on his latest start before not picking up on the ground, which seemed to be worse than the official good to soft.
There has to be a doubt over his performance towards the end of races, as he has faded quickly on his last 2 starts but hopefully that was due to the ground rather than any physical issue.
If Blueside Boy improves for the switch to good ground as expected, he could have quite a bit in hand off a mark of 95 and that obviously gives him a strong chance dropped into a class 5 handicap.
St Gregory has improved significantly for the application of blinkers, winning both chases by wide margins since they have been put on. However, she has been raised another 12lb for her Cartmel victory, and could find a tough opponent in Blueside Boy.
Perth 6.20 – Carlanstown
When you have a horse that could be well handicapped and it’s running in a conditional jockeys race, it’s handy when you can book one of the most promising young jockeys in the country. That’s exactly what Gordon Elliott has done in this race with Carlanstown and Sean Bowen.
Carlanstown has been competing at Open level in Irish points during the last 3 years and if he can transfer the best of that form to hurdling, he would look very well handicapped off 89. Last year, he was beaten 3 lengths by Strongpoint at Loughanmore. 3 runs later, Strongpoint was finished 2nd to handicap blot Busted Tycoon off 110. 1 run later, Carlanstown was beaten 6 lengths by Carsonstown Boy, who had been beaten 3½l on his previous start by Tammys Hill at Fairyhouse. Carlanstown was behind Carsonstown Boy 2 starts later too, when finishing 1l ahead of General Maccreevy, who had won his previous start in a hunter chase.
He ran with promise on his first start of this year at Oldcastle, when in the leading group of 3 clear of the rest before fading quickly from 2 out. He won his first race since 2010 2 starts ago at Largy under Derek O’Connor beating Send For Paddy, who had beaten him the previous day.
I think Carlanstown could have a stone or more in hand off 89 and Sean Bowen in the saddle is an added bonus. He impressed in the pony racing sphere and has continued to do so under rules, and looks good value for his 5lb claim.
The slight worry with Carlanstown is that he looked to lack a turn of foot at times in points, so the 2m4½f trip might not be absolutely ideal, but this race shouldn’t turn into a sprint late on given there are 3 horses in here that like to lead/race very prominently.
Five Rivers and Amilliontimes could have a little in hand off their marks but neither are reliable or have as much in hand as Carlanstown could do.
0.25pt win Trixie on Bellgrove, Blueside Boy and Carlanstown with Boylesports