THERE is a jumps meeting at Cork racecourse, Mallow on Friday evening with the first of a seven-race card getting under way at 5.05pm.
There are six hurdle races and a bumper down for decision and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Ballybough Native is put forward as the best bet of the session in the Tickets www.CorkRacecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle for five-year-olds’ and upwards.
Ballybough Native was under the care of Ian McCarthy when making a taking winning debut in a Tipperary bumper for point-to-point horses in March of last year and he was then bought for £195, 000 stg at the Cheltenham sale in Newmarket just a week later by de Bromhead on behalf of his 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo’s owner Barry Maloney.
Ballybough Native has run twice over hurdles this year and he travelled nicely on debut before fading from two out when coming a respectable eighth behind Whatsavailable in a Fairyhouse maiden hurdle over Easter. The six-year-old then gave a much better account at Punchestown in late May when he stayed on stoutly to be beaten just one and a quarter lengths into second spot by the 113-rated Showbusiness in an extended two-mile maiden hurdle. Ballybough Native showed plenty of promise at the Co Kildare venue and he’s taken to make it third time lucky over flights by excelling from Willie Mullins’ April Kilbeggan bumper winner Walk On The Moone.
De Bromhead, who sent out a winner for the aforementioned Barry Maloney at Wexford last Friday in the form of Champagne Gold, should depart with a double as his Classic Lord is bound to go close on his debut over timber in the opening Sign Up To Our Newsletter 4-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.
The German-bred Classic Lord developed into a smart staying sort for former handler Andrew Balding on the flat in Britain last season as he finished third in a £100, 000 stg Group 3 race at Goodwood in August. Having then come a respectable fourth off a mark of 90 in a one mile six furlong listed race at Ascot in October, Classic Lord was acquired by present connections and the son of Lord Of England is bound to be plenty forward for this assignment. In all likelihood, Lord Of England should have most to fear from Edge Of My Seat.
The latter’s handler Aidan Howard and owner JP McManus should however experience better fortune with Spick And Span in the Mallow Handicap Hurdle over two miles.
The five-year-old Spick And Span, a daughter of Walk In The Park that was bred by McManus’ wife Noreen, is a most consistent sort as she has finished second on all three of her most recent outings. Last time out, Spick And Span indicated that she should have little difficulty in winning a contest such as this by chasing home Tom Gibney’s Ballybaun Star in a two and a quarter mile Ballinrobe maiden hurdle. Spick And Span, beaten some seven lengths on that occasion, is likely to attain her due reward by getting the better of Kilbeggan maiden hurdle winner Backing Band.
The featured race is the Hothouse Flowers Play Live After Racing Hurdle, which comes complete with a prizefund of some €17, 500, and Gordon Elliot’s Soviet Pimpernel is likely to take all the beating in this two and a half mile contest. Soviet Pimpernel won three races for former handler Peter Fahey and the seven-year-old has had just two outings so far for the Cullentra House Stables handler, finishing third both times. On his most recent foray, the son of Elusive Pimpernel was only beaten a shade under four lengths in an extended two mile three furlong Punchestown conditions hurdle in late May and a reproduction of that effort should see the Robcour-owned bay accounting for Willie Mullins’ admirable servant Whiskey Sour.
Grand Soir should go very close in the Follow Us On Twitter Maiden Hurdle over three miles. The John McConnell-trained six-year-old Grand Soir brings solid form to the table as he finished second to the smart Hunters Yarn on his track debut in a Limerick winners’ bumper in March.
Whilst this will be Grand Soir’s initial outing over flights, he was most impressive when winning a good-ground Lingstown maiden point-to-point on his very first career start when under the care of Pat Doyle in early December. Grand Soir, an imposing individual that physically radiates chaser, is taken to return to the number one slot at the expense of Fermoy-based handler ‘Trixie’ Barry’s Tuff Days.