By Pat Keane
TOM TAAFFE’S Tumbling Dice can get back on the winning trail in the Kilcash Chase at Clonmel this afternoon.
A very progressive hurdler last season, the seven-year-old has yet to realise his undoubted potential over fences, but this looks a good opportunity.
The selection was in the process of running a big race at Gowran Park last week, until getting it all wrong six fences from home.
That contest was won by the impressive Sher Beau, but Tumbling Dice appeared to be full of running when disaster struck.
He made a bad mistake and, wisely, was quickly pulled by Barry Geraghty. Clearly Taaffe’s charge has suffered no ill-effects, considering he reappears just seven days later, and is fancied to have the legs on Camden Tanner and Joueur D’Estruval.
The frustrating Haydens First has finished second five times in-a-row, she’s only ever run five times, but can enjoy a first success in the Jim Strang and Sons Peugeot Mares Maiden Hurdle.
Of course you would have to harbour reservations about any horse who repeatedly fails to put his or her head in front, but Tom Cooper’s charge has never indicated she is less than genuine.
Haydens First simply keeps running into one too good and can find this a lot easier, compared to trying to match strides with the smart You Sir at Punchestown last time.
Another attempting to leave a serious bout of seconditis firmly behind is Carthalawn in the opening Fethard Maiden Hurdle.
He too has finished second in his last five races, but Carthalawn’s problem is that he often doesn’t find as much as he promises, when coming off the bridle.
There’s every chance he could outclass moderate opposition, however, particularly if reproducing his close second to Wanango at Naas in October. The possibility of some decent ground would be a help as well.
Dr Willie Martin, who stayed on dourly when third to Ceeawayhome and Justpourit over two and a half miles at Punchestown last month, is the choice in the Jim Strang and Sons Peugeot Novice Hurdle.