In Your Shadow rates nap material to make a winning drop back to hurdling in the first division of the Bann Handicap Hurdle, the third race on this afternoon’s card in Wexford.
In the middle of last month, Noel Meade’s grey was still in contention when falling two out in a beginners’ chase at Kilbeggan but made amends just two days late by winning at Tipperary.
There is always the possibility that he is just a better chaser than a hurdler, but he has earned a mark of 113 over fences and gets to run in his first handicap hurdle off a mark of just 95.
The manner in which he won at Tipperary and, to be fair to him, the way he ran at Kilbeggan and in Leopardstown back in March, suggests he is just an improved performer this year. He can translate that back to hurdling and thus make the most of what looks a lenient mark.
If there is a potential blot on the handicap it could be five-time point to point winner As The Crow Flies, who makes his handicap debut today. There is nothing in his hurdling form to date to suggest he is ready to win, but five point to point wins and two runner-up finishes in seven starts across 2016 and 2017 clearly indicate he has ability. Should he get called up from the reserves, the market will tell whether he retains that ability or not.
Arthur’s Baby landed a touch on Sunday in Cork and should have no trouble following up under a mandatory 5lb penalty in the second division of the Bann Handicap Hurdle.
Mark McNiff’s six-year-old, having been backed from 33-1 into 9-2 on Saturday evening and having remained quite solid in the market on Sunday, coasted into contention in the straight and when asked to put the race to bed she quickened right away to win as she pleased.
An imposing mare who won her point to point in Kildorrery, she is due to go up 13lbs for her Cork victory and it will be a huge surprise if she does not follow up today.
Double Windsor ran the well handicapped Pilbara to a neck in Cork last time and, with the stable in such good form, there is no reason he won’t go well again.
The Martin Reilly Motors Rated Novice Hurdle, in Sligo, is the best race of the day and Anna Bunina can add to her recent victory at Cork.
She was a runaway winner of what did not look the strongest of races but the runner-up, Guinevere, since scored at Galway, and fifth-placed Pour Sioux won in Cork on Sunday. Anna Bunina was considerably better than those rivals and, with Simon Torrens taking off a valuable 7lbs, she can follow up.
Arthurian Fame must concede weight to all his rivals, but he was impressive at Kilbeggan and the three-time winner on the Flat has more to give in this sphere.
1:00 Arthur Fonzarelli
2:00 In Your Shadow (nap)
2:30 Arthur’s Baby (nb)
3:00 Braid Blue
3:30 My Manekineko
4:00 Alice Johnston
1:00 Good Reception
2:00 As The Crow Flies
2:30 Double Windsor
3:30 Rocky Court
4:00 Captain Cobajay
4:45 Anna Bunina
5:50 Friary Rock
6:20 Nero Rock
6:50 Bua Boy
4:15 Sienna Rose
4:45 Arthurian Fame
5:20 Loudest Whisper
5:50 Royal Aide
6:20 Bal De Rio
6:50 Insane Bolt
7:20 The Sliding Rock