DERMOT WELD can start the final two days of the Galway Festival in style this afternoon by landing the opening Jockeys’ Association Maiden Hurdle with Gentleman Jeff.
He’s a horse who has clearly had his share of problems, but will surely be more than primed for this test.
The six-year-old hasn’t jumped an obstacle in public since New Year’s Day of 2009 when finishing four lengths second behind Noel Meade’s 4-9 chance Kandari at Fairyhouse.
He had just three more runs last year, all on the flat, scoring at Dundalk, and ending the campaign in October when finishing last of 14 behind Luttrell Lady at Fairyhouse in October.
Gentleman Jeff wasn’t seen again until reappearing on the level at Leopardstown nine days ago, dead-heating with Buaiteoir for fifth place behind Gracchus over an inadequate seven furlongs.
Enchanted Forest, a costly failure at Naas, can get off the mark in the Dawn Juice EBF Maiden.
The Galileo colt made a promising start behind stable companion, Brittany, at Gowran Park and went off a 1-4 shot at Naas.
But he got run over in the closing stages and slammed to the tune of two lengths by Jim Bolger’s Music In The Rain. There were no excuses, but Enchanted Forest is fancied to redress the balance.
At Cork tomorrow Mark Johnston’s St Moritz is a particularly interesting challenger for the Listed Platinum Stakes.
This is a rapidly improving handicapper, who was third to Invisible Man in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and then landed a fiercely competitive contest at Newmarket. He made all on the latter occasion and might do so again.
If the ground was to turn soft then Pat Flynn’s She’s Ourt Mark, the highest rated in the contest, would be hard to beat in the Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes.
Preference, however, is for Dermot Weld’s Sense Of Purpose, beaten a short head by Karasiyra at Roscommon.
They meet on the same terms, but that was Sense Of Purpose’s first outing for some two and a half months and she can prove the better now.
The Nagigation Road Nursery can fall to Tony Mullins’ Cheers Buddy, who had less than a clear run when third to Suntan and Snow Mountain at the Curragh.
At Galway tomorrow, John Kiely’s Wise Old Owl is the nap choice in the Galway Bay FM Beginners Chase.
Having only his second outing, Wise Old Owl ran with real promise when a length and a quarter second to Glenstal Abbey at Tipperary.
The Weld bandwagon can roll on with once-raced Endearing in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Fillies Maiden.
The daughter of Selkirk made a solid start when third to Kaladena at Navan in May and it would be a surprise should she fail to improve on that.
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