Showed ability on point debut
Downpatrick 17:20: Toss Again 1pt win 16/1
Henry de Bromhead has two runners in the opening maiden hurdle at Downpatrick and while So Original may appear the first string on jockey bookings, I think he might have a better chance with rules newcomer Toss Again.
He made his debut for Sean Doyle in April last year at Fairyhouse and showed ability in defeat. Having been held up early on, he made headway in the small field and was in a share of second at 4 out. He was a bit short of room approaching the bend on the run to 2 out and lost a couple of lengths and a mistake at 2 out didn't help his cause further. He came under pressure and responded well but drifted off the final bend and another small error following at the last before edging left on the run in and finishing third.
The winner of that race is now rated 117 over hurdles and while the runner up is only rated in the 90s over hurdles and fences, he has yet to be placed to challenge in any of his seven starts under rules.
Given the mistake at a crucial time and the inexperience he showed in the closing stages, this was a promising start to Toss Again's career. Physically he looked the type to improve with time so it's no concern that he's had a year off as he probably needed that time to strengthen up and they may have taken the option to wait for the new season rather than run him at the back end of last season and potentially give away his novice status while gaining little experience.
He's likely been priced up as the second string due to jockey bookings but Darragh O'Keeffe has been the regular jockey on Great Bear for this owner so it may be that there is an arrangement there and the jockey bookings are not a sign of which is the first and second string.
This track is a concern for Toss Again as he looked the type to be suited by a galloping track and he did edge left on the final bend and on the run in but in a weak maiden hurdle I think he's overpriced and any 9/1 or bigger appeals.
Promising debut in a strong race
Cork 17:30: Fanore 0.5pt e/w 100/1
Furnace Creek just about sets the standard in this maiden having shown a good level of ability in two starts but it's a bit worrying that he's edged left under pressure on both starts. The likes of Osraige, Relevant Range and Amanirenas aren't far behind on what they've achieved so far but the market hasn't missed that whereas I think the chance of one at a much bigger price has been overlooked a little.
Fanore was sent off at a big price for his debut over a mile at Navan in October but ran to a good level despite not having everything go his way. He was soon in a prominent position and raced a bit keenly for the first couple of furlongs. He was shaken along with three furlongs to go and was still in contention when squeezed up in between horses which caused him to stumble as Porto Ercole came across him. Fanore could never get back into a challenging position after that but kept going well enough under pressure to finish seventh.
Three of the six horses who finished ahead of Fanore are now rated 90+ while Tempe Of Artemis won off 88 yesterday and the other two are rated 86 and 87. Fanore finished a short head in front of Ninja who is now rated 76 with subsequent maiden winners Inchturk and The Grey Wizard further behind.
Fanore finished well beaten on his only subsequent start in very testing ground at Gowran when he raced very prominently before dropping away quickly in the home straight.
I think the better ground today will suit him and it could be that he had a wind problem on his second start which they could have sorted since.
The combination of the drop back in trip and a first time hood is a concern as one or the other would probably be the most useful decision and it might this is a run to try to get him back on track before going handicapping but given the quality of his debut run I can't let him go unbacked and any 33/1 or bigger appeals.