Holeinthewall Bar’s record over fences could not inspire any confidence, but he has an unmistakable opportunity to earn an overdue success over the larger obstacles in the two-mile handicap chase on this afternoon’s card at Down Royal, where the seven-race programme gets underway at 1.10pm.
Formerly with Michael Hourigan, he has been placed in two of his four runs to date for trainer Gordon Elliott. Last time out, he travelled to Ayr for a modest race, but was a beaten favourite when only third behind Master Ruffit.
Prior to that he had run a fine race to finish runner-up to Moores Road in a hurdle at Limerick’s Christmas festival.
The drop back to two miles looks a good move for the nine-year-old and, in what looks a poor contest, he should prove too smart for his rivals.
Polish Partisan has shown enough to suggest he can reach the frame.
Prince Kup looks a good value option in the sixth race, the Bet With The Tote Handicap Hurdle. Edward O’Grady’s six-year-old ran better than his placing suggests when fifth behind Realt Mor last time, and just three runs previously, when last on yielding ground, he ran-up behind Veinard.
That form reads very well in the context of today’s race and, with decent ground to suit, a good run is in the offing. He can take this at the expense of Castlehume, who was a disappointing favourite last time.
Aretesone can take the Silks@DownRoyal Rated Novice Hurdle for Ted and Ruby Walsh. The five-year-old took time to get his act together over hurdles, but has been in good form of late and looks capable of coping with a mark of 111.
Last time, in a competitive handicap hurdle, he found trouble in running, but finished a fine fourth behind Thirsty Work. That was over two miles and the return to two-and- half-miles, over which he secured his only win to date, should suit.
A strong traveller at this level, he can be produced late to score, with Cadeau Du Bresil feared most. The latter should also appreciate the trip, after getting outpaced and then staying on to finish a fortunate second behind Thirsty Work over two miles.
There should be more to come from him, and he is preferred to Charlie Stout and Kalopsia as the chief danger to the selection.