Beautiful Ben poised to gain an overdue success

Two Friday evening meetings, with 16 races in less than four hours, and yet so little appeal as a punting proposition.

The nap goes to Beautiful Ben, in the opening handicap hurdle at Wexford. Denis Hogan’s horse was well-backed for a similar event at Roscommon last time and, but for his rider losing his iron and all but falling off the horse at the last, he would surely have won. In the circumstances, Davy Russell, who is back on board, performed miracles not only to keep the partnership intact, but also to get his mount up into second place.

The handicapper has reacted by raising him two pounds, but that shouldn’t be enough to prevent him earning an overdue victory.

Gambling Girl can complete her hat-trick by winning the Vinegar Hill Chase. Jessica Harrington’s imposing mare was somewhat disappointing in her first four outings over fences, but made the breakthrough at Killarney in May, and followed up with a runaway success in a three-runner race at Roscommon last time.

Tonight’s assignment is certainly tougher, but there ought to be more to come from her, and she can take this at the expense of Xsquared. The latter was a smooth winner on the flat at Fairyhouse just two nights ago, having won over fences just 18 days previously. He returns to chasing clearly in great heart, but has something to find with the selection on their meeting at Killarney. He is better off at the weights and should reduce the 10-length gap, but Gambling Girl is also in great heart, and can confirm the form. Money for Pumbaa, who is having his first run for Colin Bowe, would be interesting, but he will have competition for the lead and may have better chances in the future.

Rosshaven Lady can give Joseph O’Brien another winner when she lines up for the mares’ maiden hurdle. A useful sort in bumpers, she won twice and was very unlucky when running in to the spur in the straight with a race at her mercy at Killarney. She couldn’t get competitive in a listed event on her final outing in that sphere, but starts off in modest company over timber.

Here’s a little extra sport: BallTalk TV look ahead to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.


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