Ex-Irish pointers have potential
Southwell 14.35: 1pt win Enemenemynemo 25/1
There are some questions for those at the front of the market to answer in the maiden hurdle at Southwell at 14.35 and that opens up the possibility of a shock result. I think the market has underestimated the chance of two ex-Irish pointers causing that shock, both returning to the track off identical breaks.
Enemenemynemo makes his debut for David Jeffreys having been bought for £22,000 at the 2019 Cheltenham November Sale. He had three runs in Irish points for Aidan Fitzgerald and showed promise in all three.
He ran fairly well on debut at Oldcastle when in contention until dropping away on the long run to 2 out and improved on that next time at Bartlemy. He travelled strongly to challenge the leader at 3 out but once pushed wide on the final bend and coming under pressure, he didn't find as much as seemed likely and dropped away to finish fourth.
He returned in the Autumn at Dromahane and ran his best race of the three. In a prominent position throughout, he was pushed along on the final bend on the run to 3 out. Unlike on his previous two starts, he stayed in contention and jumped into second at 3 out. He gradually closed on the leader and jumped 2 out upsides before gaining a slight lead at the last. However, he reached for it and pecked on landing and that gave away his chance.
The winner of the maiden at Dromahane was Castle Robin who is now rated 130 over hurdles. In his two previous races, he came up against the likes of Straw Fan Jack, Ballinsker and Belfast Banter who are all rated 125+.
I think this shorter trip will suit Enemenemynemo on his rules debut and any rain this morning won't have his chance either having run well on yielding to soft at Dromahane.
There has to be a concern over whether he can run to his best after a 484-day absence but I think the market has underestimated his chance given his level of form in points and 25/1 is too big.
Southwell 14.35: 1pt win Nashville Nipper 66/1
Nashville Nipper is the other ex-Irish pointer who I think can run better than his big price indicates. He made a very quiet start in Irish points at Curraghmore when always at the back of the field and was pulled up when tailed off after 4 out.
Having been trained by his owner/breeder for his debut, Nashville Nipper was moved into the care of Kieran Roche, who trained Silver Forever to win her maiden. Nashville Nipper was backed from 6/1 into 6/4 on his first start for Roche in a four-runner maiden but was struggling after 4 out and was eventually pulled up.
He returned to the track a week later and put in a much improved performance, showing the ability that he had no doubt shown at home to cause the gamble a week earlier. Held up off the back of the pack, he was still last of six at 3 out when left in fifth by the fall of Beatthebullet. Still a long way from the leaders, he made significant headway under little pressure on the very long run to 2 out. He came under pressure after jumping 2 out and looked a bit green but kept plugging on to be beaten five lengths in third.
The winner of that maiden was Mr Mantilla, who has won 5 from 6 in Irish points including a couple of Opens. In second was Milanford who is now rated 138 over fences while the well beaten fourth, Castlebawn, finished second in a hunter chase since. It should also be noted that in the maiden when Nashville Nipper was backed from 6/1 into 6/4, his rivals included the now 140-rated Rebel Gold and Uttoxeter maiden hurdle winner What About Time.
Nashville Nipper struck me as being backwardin those runs and there's a chance that he will have greatly matured mentally in the time since his most recent run 484 days ago. The way he travelled into contention in that third point suggests this trip will be fine for him and I think he can run better than his 66/1 price suggests.