Rhys Williams has analysed Monday's racing and has one selection at Newton Abbot.
"Those performances in point to points suggest that O’Faolains Lad has enough ability to at least give Nostalgica a fright if that horse only runs to the level that she did last time."
Some promise in point runs
Trailboss being taken out of the opening race at Newton Abbot has left a one-sided market with Small Bad Bob the 1/3 favourite and it's even more one-sided in the without the favourite market with Nostalgica currently the 1/10 favourite.
However, although she does set a clear standard on achievements under rules in that particular market, I thought her second run over hurdles at this track was underwhelming given the promise of her hurdling debut at Taunton. She also has to prove she can handle this more testing ground so I'm opposing her with a rules debutant who has shown some ability in the British pointing field.
O'Faolains Lad didn't show much promise in Irish points with a fourth place his only completion in five starts for Trevor Horgan.
His first two starts for Stuart Penny at Larkhill weren't overly promising either but he's since stepped up on that once cheekpieces were applied.
Although it's officially registered as good ground when he won a maiden at Larkhill on what turned out to be the last day of the 2019/20 season, the rain had already started to get into the ground which turned it on the soft side by this race. He got the better of the Tom Weston trained Saquon that day and the pair pulled well clear of a subsequent maiden winner in third.
O'Faolains Lad fell early on his first start of the 2020/21 season and was off for four months before returning with a good effort in defeat at Cothelstone behind Famous Clermont. Dropped back in trip to 2m4f, he led for much of the contest but was no match for the winner late on, which is no surprise given the level that Famous Clermont ran to at Newbury in a novice hurdle the previous month.
O'Faolains Lad was well beaten on his next start at Flete Park before bouncing back with a good run to end the season at Bratton Down. Having led for much of the race, he was briefly headed going to 2 out before jumping back into the lead at that fence. He was headed again soon after and was always being held by Fan Club Aulmes on the run in but kept battling on to finish second.
Those performances in point to points suggest that O'Faolains Lad has enough ability to at least give Nostalgica a fright if that horse only runs to the level that she did last time.
There is a concern that he will be taken on for the lead by Small Bad Bob and that could result in him not performing so well and while he won on ground on the soft side at Larkhill, the ground at Newton Abbot will be more testing than that so he does have to prove he can handle it.
Despite those worries, I think O'Faolains Lad should be second favourite in the without the favourite market and any 5/1 or bigger appeals.
RHYS' PROFIT/LOSS 2021
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