King Johns Castle favourite to see off Drinmore rivals

ARTHUR MOORE’S King Johns Castle has been installed as the clear 11-4 favourite with Cashmans for today’s rescheduled Ballymore Properties Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

A field of 10 will now go to post for the Grade One contest over two and a half miles, won 12 months ago by Paul Nolan’s Kill Devil Hill.

The Willie Mullins-trained Alexander Taipan is the only absentee from the original list.

Moore’s lightly-raced seven-year-old appears to have a bright future over fences after slaughtering a decent field by 17 lengths on his last start at Navan.

His nearest market rival is the Paul Stafford-trained Blueberry Boy, a smart performer over timber who made an impressive debut over fences at Punchestown last month.

Stafford had a shorter journey from Fairyhouse on Sunday than most and brings Blueberry Boy back for another attempt.

The trainer, who is based in Oldtown, has only held a license for three years, having previously been involved with point-to-pointers, and Blueberry Boy is easily his best horse yet.

A decent novice hurdler, he was a winner on his only start over fences at Punchestown last month – although he is unproven over two and a half miles in stamina-sapping conditions.

“Fairyhouse is our closest track, only a few minutes away, so we just had a cup of tea and waited for the traffic to die down. Hopefully it will be a better day this time,” said Stafford.

“Generally, I can tell the ground at the track from what my gallops are like - and they are very wet.

“The ground and trip are slightly unknown, but they all have to go on it and sometimes you just have to take a chance.

“You could pick four or five in the race that have the same sort of chance, but I don’t want to make little of the horse – we think a lot of him and we hope for the best.”

Mossbank made an impressive start to his chasing career at Clonmel and looked like following up at Cork last month but was mugged on the line by Anothercoppercoast.

“He’s in grand form – very good form – but it’s a very competitive race,” said trainer Michael Hourigan.

“You can’t rule any of the 10 runners out. It’s certainly a race worthy of Grade One status.

“He managed to throw away a winning chance the last time and I think it was a bit of jockey error.

“He should have no problems with the trip. He won over three miles first time over fences but dropping back to two and a half should be no problem.

“He’s a light-framed horse so he will be even better on better ground rather than the soft he is having to race in now.”

Ballymore Properties Drinmore Novice Chase

Cashmans bet: 11-4 King Johns Castle, 5-1 Blueberry Boy, 7-1 Vic Venturi, O’Muircheartaigh, Mac Three, 10-1 Mossbank, Cailin Alainn, Gazza’s Girl, 11-1 Schindlers Hunt, 20-1 Anothercoppercoast.

Blue Square bet: 3-1 King Johns Castle, 4-1 Blueberry Boy, 7-1 O’Muircheartaigh, Mac Three, 8-1 Vic Venturi, 9-1 Mossbank, Cailin Alainn, 11-1 Gazza’s Girl, 12-1 Schindlers Hunt, 20-1 Anothercoppercoast.

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