Ensign can fly high in Listowel and reap Harvest Festival rewards

It’s day three of the Harvest Festival in Listowel, where the Liam Healy Snr Memorial Lartigue Hurdle is the feature, while there is also a six-race card on the sand at Laytown.

The nap comes in the opening race at Listowel, where Ensign can come out on top in what, on all known form, looks a match race with Cascavelle.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt made his debut at the Curragh, and ran an eye-catching race to eventually finish fifth behind Landfall.

The form of the race received its first boost when runner-up Exemplar ran away with a maiden last week at Galway, and received even greater enhancement when the winner landed a Group 3 on the opening day of Champions’ Weekend, at Leopardstown.

While the deep ground is something of an unknown for all of the runners, it was yielding to soft when Ensign ran at the Curragh, and if he gets through these more testing conditions he will be very hard to beat.

Cascavelle showed little on debut, but improved significantly when a staying-on second behind Sir Edwin Landseer at Roscommon on his second start. He’s entitled to improve again, and rates an obvious danger to the selection.

In the featured Liam Healy Snr Memorial Lartigue Hurdle the Tony Martin-trained Tudor City can land the spoils.

A maiden over hurdles after five runs, he was backed off the boards on his most recent start, namely in a flat race at Galway, but didn’t seem to see out the 14-furlong trip.

A winner of a flat race on soft ground at last year’s Galway festival, and runner-up in heavy ground in a flat handicap at this meeting last year, he returns at a time when the stable’s runners are hitting top form, and he should be primed for a big run.

It seems reasonable to deduce he is well handicapped off a mark of 114 and, with Ruby Walsh booked, he can make the most of his light weight in a competitive renewal of the race.

The action at Laytown is difficult to assess, but My Good Brother, who bounced back to winning ways last time, at Dundalk, looks the most solid option in the opener.

Usa runs well here and, following an excellent effort in defeat last time, over fences, he looks sure to give a good account of himself in the closing race.

In terms of ratings, he has an awful lot to find with British challenger Room Key, but this track makes unique demands, and there is unlikely to be much between them here.


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