Christmas Festival – Day 3
Allegorie De Vassy is set to make her seasonal return and her chasing debut in the Grade 2 McMahons Builders Providers Irish EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase (1.30) at Limerick on Wednesday.
Susannah Ricci’s mare ran just twice last season after joining Willie Mullins from France, and she won both times. She won her maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day, and she followed up by easily landing the Grade 3 Solerina Mares’ Novice Hurdle back at Fairyhouse later in January.
She didn’t race again after that last season but, a well-bred mare who has gone well fresh in the past, she is an exciting contender in a race that her trainer won last year with Concertista.
Broomfield Hall has run in two races over fences so far in her career, and she has won both of them. Philip Dempsey’s mare won her last two races over hurdles last season, her first two wins over hurdles, and she has continued that momentum into this season, as she has embarked on her chasing career.
She just did enough to get home by a head in a mares’ beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse in early October on good ground, and she went back to Fairyhouse last time and put up a better performance in comfortably landing a rated novice chase. She handled the soft ground well that day, and there is every chance that she can continue her progression now over fences.
Malina Girl is much more experienced over fences, having run in her 10th chase last time at Fairyhouse. Gavin Cromwell’s mare stayed on well to win nicely that day at the end of two and a half miles, shaping as if the step back up to two miles and six and a half furlongs could see her step forward again. She wasn’t beaten far in an amateur riders’ handicap chase at Cheltenham in November over three miles and a furlong.
Carrigeen Lotus and Merry Moves complete the field in what should be a really interesting contest.
Merry Moves’ trainer Grainne O’Connor has a live contender in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase (2.40) in Brand Harbour. The Latin Partnership’s horse has hit a rich vein of form this autumn, finishing second in two handicap hurdles at Galway in October before going to Limerick last month and easily landing a handicap hurdle off a mark of 90.
In so doing, he provided his young rider Diarmuid Moloney with his first ever winner on the track, and he provided him with his second 10 days ago when together they landed a handicap chase at Thurles off a handicap rating of 107.
The handicapper raised him by 11lb for that win to a mark of 118, and he is 1lb out of the handicap on Wednesday, so he effectively racing off a 12lb higher mark, but he appeared to win with plenty in hand at Thurles, he is obviously in great form at present, and he goes well at the track.
Maskada didn’t have a lot of luck last time at Fairyhouse, when she fell at the second last fence in the mares’ handicap chase that Malina Girl won. She had travelled through her race well up to that point, and her jumping had been good. She actually jumped the second last fence well too, she just seemed to stumble on landing and came down.
That was just her second run for Henry de Bromhead, and it was her first since last April, so she remains a really interesting mare. She gets to race now off a mark of 132, just 1lb higher than her Fairyhouse mark, and that type of mark should be within range.
Her stable companion Spyglass Hill, winner of the race last year, is back again and set to race off a 5lb higher mark than last year’s winning mark of 140, while Krabat comes into the race in good form, Michael McDonogh’s horse having only just been beaten in a handicap hurdle at Cork last time. Flash De Touzaine was well beaten in the Troytown Chase last time, but he was good in winning at Galway in October and, if Liz Doyle’s horse could get back to that level of performance, that would give him a chance in what is a really competitive race.
The day gets under way with the Keith Lynch Memorial Maiden Hurdle (12.20), a race that Willie Mullins won with Ciel De Neige two years ago, and the champion trainer is triple-handed in the race this year, with Aime Desjy, Shanbally Kid and Feu Du Bresil set to represent him.