There is more than enough racing to satisfy anyone today but Tony Keenan has narrowed down his fancies to three bets at Leopardstown...
"The maiden hurdle he debuted in has proved decent form, the winner Jetz going on to place in graded novices while the distant fourth was fifth in a competitive handicap too, Canardier conceding eight pounds to both on the day."
'Tis the season of excess, amongst other things, and that seemingly applies to race planning too where there is a surfeit of maiden hurdles over the next four days. I count 14 in all between now and December 29th across the three tracks at Leopardstown, Limerick and Down Royal with six such races today. That looks too much though as one wag pointed out to me you could acquire a handicap mark before the year's end or at least before the children go back to school! That said, the maidens at Leopardstown today look particularly strong and have betting appeal too.
Both the market leaders Debuchet and Antey come here off breaks, 264 and 417 days respectively, and neither have raced over hurdles yet so experience could be the way to go and Manamite looks overpriced. The form of his debut second in Ireland has proved reasonable but that is only one reason to support him; that race was slowly-run which didn't seem to suit as he closed to the line and his jumping can be expected to be sharper now he has a run over hurdles.
Furthermore, he was the subject of a substantial punt that day suggesting connections have a high opinion of him while more than average improvement for the run can be expected as has he hadn't seen the track since June 2016 prior to that. The rain which has softened the ground to yielding (soft in places) won't hurt either.
Quick Grabim looks the right favourite but his jumping was errant last time and I'm not sure what he achieved in finishing ahead of Blow By Blow over the minimum trip; that horse is a shadow of what he was in bumpers and seems better over further. Those comments about trip preferences also apply to Paloma Blue and Impact Factor who could find this distance too sharp.
It is possible Canardier will prove best over further than this too but he travelled well last time and has won an 18-furlong bumper on good-yielding so has at least some gears. The maiden hurdle he debuted in has proved decent form, the winner Jetz going on to place in graded novices while the distant fourth was fifth in a competitive handicap too, Canardier conceding eight pounds to both on the day. In fact, the selection would have finished closer but for a mistake two out and should be hard to keep out of the frame here.
Gallant John Joe was quite the eye-catcher on his bumper debut at Punchestown last April, that race looking a graded race in disguise at this point with Hollowgraphic, Early Doors and Rapid Escape among those down the field. The problem is that his price is a little on the short side for one coming off a break.
Both Boot Camp and Fortune Street also ran in that race and preference is for the former despite his likely being flattered by a sixth-place finish as he raced close to a tepid pace. Since then however he has placed in a strong Thurles bumper, the first, third and sixth all winning maiden hurdles afterwards, and the addition of a hood is a positive given how keen he was last time. It also looks significant that he has been bought by Gigginstown, an operation not known for buying horses-in-training in this fashion.
2017 P+L: + 0.2 points
1 Point Back Manamite @ [7.2] or bigger in the Leopardstown 12:15
1 Point Place Back Manamite @ [2.1] or bigger in the Leopardstown 12:15
1 Point Back Canardier @ [8.2] or bigger in the Leopardstown 12:45
1 Point Place Back Canardier @ [2.4] or bigger in the Leopardstown 12:45
0.5 Point Back Boot Camp @ [6.4] or bigger in the Leopardstown 15:30
0.5 Point Place Back Boot Camp @ [2.1] or bigger in the Leopardstown 15:30