Horse Racing Tips

Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Mark Milligan fancies a pair at Listowel

Listowel
Mark Milligan has two selections over jumps on Sunday

Irish expert Mark Milligan is feeling refreshed after a short break and is back with two selections in Ireland on Sunday...

There's nothing like a bit of a break from work to put a spring back in your step and I'm feeling a lot more lively having had a few days away from the non-stop grind of analysing horse races day in, day out.

Now, don't get me wrong, horse racing is my passion and I feel extremely privileged to get paid for writing about the sport I love, but it's nice just to get away from it for a short while and come back feeling refreshed and invigorated.

To say I was feeling more than refreshed on Thursday would be something of an understatement, as somehow (against my better judgement), I was persuaded to go on the children's log flume at a popular theme park on Blackpool's seafront.

Now, cast your mind back to the Wednesday of this year's Cheltenham Festival, a day where it rained literally non-stop from beginning to end. A day when those of us who were there were soaked to the skin (myself to the point where I even had a buy a rather overpriced new coat from the racecourse gift shop!).

That day pales into insignificance compared to the soaking I got on what had seemed a rather innocuous children's water ride.

The tidal wave of extremely cold water that enveloped our carriage (is that the correct word?) will live long in my memory as we hurtled down a drop that must have been all of ten feet long!

Anyway, back the main point, I'm now refreshed (in more ways than one) and eager to get stuck into Sunday's Irish racing at Listowel.

Mullins should take main event

The 2m 4f Kerry Group Chase at 16:40 is the feature race of the day and it will be something of surprise if it doesn't go the way of Willie Mullins, who fields both Kemboy and Easy Game.

The former has been a classy performer over the years but is into the veteran stage now and isn't quite the force of old, particularly as his jumping isn't as slick as it once was. Indeed, he was even tried over back hurdles in France when last seen in May, finishing tailed off.

Easy Game is probably the safer conveyance nowadays, but he also needs to put a poor run behind him, and neither he nor Kemboy make great appeal from a betting perspective.

This isn't a punting race for me and I'm more inclined to get involved in a couple of the earlier contests on the card.

O'Brien newcomer of interest in the opener

The 2m Kerry Group 3-y-o Hurdle (14:10) that opens the action has a fascinating look to it, with both Mullins and Gordon Elliott fielding promising recent winners.

Aghaboy was a fair performer on the flat for Kevin Prendergast (officially rated 68) but looks as though he'll make a much better hurdler and struck on just his second outing for the Mullins yard at Ballinrobe earlier this month.

He had to work hard to get the verdict there but still looks open to improvement.

I just favour him over Elliott's runner The Insider, who was only a modest flat performer but is unbeaten in two starts over timber.

However, Joseph O'Brien's Common Practice was more talented than both of them on the level and I'm hopeful he can make a winning start as he transitions to this sphere.

This son of Gleneagles showed a good turn of foot to win the Apprentice Derby at the Curragh in June and went very close to following up when just touched off by a head at Galway the following month.

If he can translate his flat form to hurdles at the first time of asking he'll take plenty of beating.

Nikini to remain unbeaten over timber

My only other bet on the card will be in the following 2m 4f Kerry Group Irish EBF Mares Hurdle (14:40), where I'm hoping Nikini can make it 2 from 2 since being switched to hurdles from bumpers.

Willie Mullins' daughter of Sea Moon had some okay form in the bumper sphere (including in Grade 3 company) but those runs were a means to an end as she was clearly still learning.

She looked a different prospect altogether when bolting up on hurdling debut at Kilbeggan in August, where it's probably no exaggeration to say the official winning marking of three and a quarter lengths could easily have been doubled.

While the form of that race is nothing to get too excited about, the manner in which Nikini disposed of her opposition was most taking and she looks to have further progression in her.

There's no doubt this is a much stiffer task but the selection looks an exciting prospect and I'm hopeful she can take the next step up the ladder

Recommended bets

Mark's P/L

Staked: 276
Returns: 339.57
P/L: +63.57

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