Rhys Williams has analysed Thursday's racing and has a sole selection at Listowel...
Returning to suitable trip on favoured ground
Listowel 17:30: Lord Erskine 1.5pt win 16/1
Plenty of rain fell overnight at Listowel turning the ground soft and by the time of the final race it may have become even more testing.
That is in the favour of Lord Erskine who is back for another try at this race having finished eighth last season off a 4lb lower mark. That was on yielding ground, which is a bit quicker than ideal for him, and he ran well two starts later at Galway on heavy ground when finishing second to Pita Pinta who was off 82 that day and has since finished second in a Listed race.
Lord Erskine ran three times over hurdles before returning to the flat at Roscommon in May. Having worn blinkers at Galway, cheekpieces went back on that day and the soft to heavy ground was in his favour.
He had to be shaken along at the back of the field shortly after leaving the stalls before he gradually made progress on the outside to eventually be tracking the leaders halfway down the back straight. Pushed along turning into the home straight, he kept grinding away under pressure and eventually caught Sionnach Eile on the line.
Unsuitable good ground caused Lord Erskine to be a non-runner three times before he returning after 120 days off at Galway over 1m½f. That was always going to be an inadequate test of stamina for him but he did finish off the race well having ended up extremely wide off the final bend.
He's racing today off a 2lb higher mark than when winning at Roscommon and the ground has now turned in his favour whereas it may not be ideal for quite a few of his rivals. He doesn't look the easiest ride so it's a positive that Siobhan Rutledge is once again in the saddle as she has winning experience on him and hopefully the Galway run will have put him spot on for this.
Lord Erskine is inconsistent so it may be that he won't show his best even when having his ideal conditions but I think he's significantly overpriced in a race of this quality given the ability he's shown on the flat in the last year on testing ground and any double-figure price underplays his chance.