Promise shown in both bumpers
Clonmel 17:00: Trishknowsbest 1pt win 25/1
A weak maiden hurdle opens the card at Clonmel. Itwasfate sets the standard but it was a bit disappointing that he was beaten when coming down at the last at Limerick last time having raced keenly early on.
Easter Recital has been taken out of the race and that means the reserve, Trishknowsbest, gets a run with Kieren Buckley taking the ride. She raced far too keenly and didn't see out the trip in points when trained by Ian Donoghue but has looked far more suited by the much shorter distance in two bumpers for Andrew Lynch.
The first of those was at this track and she set off in a detached last. She was still in last turning down the back straight before making a big move on the outside at the end of the back which resulted in her being upsides for the lead just before entering the home straight. She was dropped by the front pair soon after but kept going well enough under driving to finish fourth. The sixth has won over hurdles and the eighth was narrowly beaten over hurdles since.
She was held up in an even further detached last at Tramore last time before making headway to be at the back of the main group leaving the back straight for the final time. She was still travelling well turning the bend but once pushed along there wasn't much response and she could only plug on into sixth.
The way Trishknowsbest has travelled in both of those races suggests that she has more ability than is coming out in the results and she should have no issue switching to hurdling having gained jumping experience in points.
I'm hoping they will ride her much handier this afternoon rather than being asked to make a lot of ground into a quickening pace as that will help her to see out the trip better than has the case in bumpers.
There is a concern that she will once again be ridden in a detached last and that's more of a disadvantage in a maiden hurdle than a bumper and she does have to show she can find more in the closing stages of a race but in such a weak race I think she's overpriced given her potential and any 16/1 or bigger appeals.
Reapplication of blinkers to bring a return to form
Clonmel 19:20: Hammersmith 1pt win 16/1
Ferdia ran very well at Limerick last time and a repeat of that could make him tough to beat but that was over a longer trip and I'm not sure he's certain to repeat that level down in trip.
At a much bigger price, I think Hammersmith could run well on his second start over fences. He was well beaten on his chasing debut at Kilbeggan last time but he wore cheekpieces that day and wasn't going from a circuit out.
It was encouraging that he generally jumped quite well and the reapplication of blinkers today replacing the cheekpieces could see him in a much better light. Blinkers had a positive impact over hurdles, winning at Galway with them on last year, and he's run well on both starts on the flat this year with the blinkers applied.
The ability Hammersmith showed over hurdles suggests he has the ability to be competitive in a race of this quality and the ground should be in his favour as long as they don't get too much rain on top of the watered ground.
It is a bit concerning that he was beaten quite so far out last time even allowing for the lack of blinkers and he's likely to have competition for the lead from Highstreet Roller but I think his price is an overreaction to the bare form of his last run and any 12/1 or bigger appeals.
Promising debut in Irish point
Newton Abbot 20:36: Mark The Man 2pt win 11/4
Tango Arumba is odds on for the bumper at Newton Abbot following a winning debut in an Irish point. She showed good speed in the closing stages but she did have the benefit of having controlled a very slow pace and that looked a very weak race so while she could have more to come, I'm not sure she's done anywhere near enough to be odds on in this.
The other horse coming out of the Irish pointing field is Mark The Man and I think he should be much closer to her in the market. He made his debut in a 2m4f maiden at Ballinaboola and travelled well in behind the leaders before being down on his nose at 4 out.
He was nudged along in sixth turning the final bend and made ground to be a close fourth at 3 out. He continued his progress to be in a share of second at 2 out and had gained sole possession of that position at the last when he made a bad mistake and unseated rider.
Although I think that was only a fairly good maiden judged against other 4yo maidens, that race was of a better standard than the one Tango Arumba won and I think Mark The Man could be more suited to a bumper than jumping fences. There's not much of him and that is likely the reason why he was sold for £30,000 while the winner went for £75,000 at a sale shortly after.
There is the worry that one of the newcomers could have a good level of ability or there will be a repeat scenario from Tango Arumba's point with her getting a very soft lead but I think Mark The Man should be much nearer to the favourite than is currently the case and any 9/4 or bigger appeals.