THE Dermot Weld-trained Barrel Of Fun stands out as the banker bet on today’s flat card in Sligo.
A lightly-raced Sadler’s Wells gelding, Barrel Of Fun ran an eye-catching race on his debut at Navan a year ago, when fourth to this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby victor Fame And Glory.
Anyone who saw Weld’s charge perform that day will find it difficult to believe that he’s still a maiden on the last day of September ‘09. But Barrel Of Fun has clearly had his problems and he has raced only twice in the intervening time, finishing in the frame in two competitive ten-furlong maidens at Leopardstown last spring.
Third to Rockhampton in March, he then filled fourth spot in the race won by another Aidan O’Brien-trained colt Stately Home the following month, a race which has produced four subsequent winners.
It’s worrying that Barrel Of Fun has not been seen since that effort last May. But he looks a talented individual and, if the market speaks in his favour today, he should prove difficult to beat in the ten-furlong Racecard Advertisement Sligo Maiden.
Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen will be associated with newcomer Thunder Bridge in the opening Irish Stallion Farms Median Auction 2-Y-0 Maiden and neither he nor any of the other debutants, including Kevin Perndergast’s Killeeter, would have to be special to land the spoils. But we’ll take a chance with the experienced, Andy Oliver-trained filly Dinger Belle, which has shown some signs of ability in her two starts, a third to Queen Of Troy on Dundalk’s fibresand surface before finishing fourth to Rock Jock at Down Royal.
Apprentice Ronan Whelan has already made a big impact and, having lost his 10lb. claim when scoring on Atasari for his boss Jim Bolger at Gowran Park on Saturday, might notch his fourth career win on the Gerry Stack-trained Sarah’s News in the Race Sponsorship At Sligo In 2010 Handicap. Sarah’s News has displayed improved from in recent starts and chased home That’s a Fret at Listowel last time, form boosted when her conqueror went close to completing a hat-trick at Roscommon on Monday.
Arguably the most interesting horse in action today is Gordon Elliott’s Nino Cochise, off a mark of just 65, in the Foley’s Bar & Off Licence Sligo Handicap.
Nino Cochise has recorded back-to-back hurdle successes in recent weeks, his defeat of Boulavogue and subsequent winner Fosters Cross at Listowel, pushing his hurdle rating up to 118.
Elliott’s charge has not raced on the flat for fifteen months, having finished in the frame in maidens at Southwell and Nottingham, when trained in England by Charlie Egerton. He looks potentially well-treated here.
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