With racing still going on behind closed doors over in Ireland there is afternoon action over the jumps at Downpatrick racecourse on Sunday.
We take a quick-fire look at the 7-race card, giving you some key stats and trends.
Sunday 22nd March 2020
Downpatrick Horse Racing Tips
1:40 - Connolly's RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle (4yo+) 2m3f RTV
- Trainer Oliver McKiernan won the race in 2019 and has a 40% record with his hurdlers at the track – WILL YOU WIN
- Trainer Noel Meade has a 27% record with his hurdlers at the track – HENRY BROWN
- Trainer Jessie Harrington has a 25% record with her hurdlers at the track – I’M SO BUSY
- Trainer JP Dempsey has a 21% record with his hurdlers at the track – ITS THEWAY FORWARD
- Trainer Gavin Cromwell has a 20% record with his hurdlers at the track – WAVELENGTH
- Jockey LP Dempsey has a 20% record riding over hurdlers at the track – IT’S THEWAY FORWARD
VERDICT: At a big price it might be worth having a small saver on the Oliver McKiernan-trained Will You Win - mainly because of their 40% record at the track with their hurdlers and the fact they also won this race in 2019. Henry Brown, Its Theway Forward and Wavelength are others that represent yards that have decent strike-rates at the track with their hurdlers, but it’s I’M SO BUSY that I’m going for here. The Jessie Harrington team also boast a decent 25% record with their runners over the smaller obstacles here. This former Point-to-Point runner was a decent fourth at Fairyhouse last month and that was a clear step in the right direction on his hurdles. With the expected improvement he can be in the mix. The consistent trio of - All About Joe, Hesamanofhisword and Behind Curtain - are others to consider.
2:10 - WKD Rated Hurdle (5yo+) 2m3f RTV
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has won 4 of the last 8 runnings and has a 19% record with his hurdlers – THE VERY MAN & TEXARD
- Trainer Noel Meade has a 27% record with his hurdlers at the track – MOMUS
- Trainer BR Hamilton has a 22% record with his hurdlers at the track – JIMMY TWO TIMES
- Trainer Gavin Cromwell has a 20% record with his hurdlers at the track – QUANTATMENTAL
- Jockey Davy Russell has a 31% record riding over hurdles at the track – THE VERY MAN
VERDICT: Road To Dubai and Wajaaha were both nice winners last time out, but it’s hard to get away from the Gordon Elliott-trained THE VERY MAN here. This 6 year-old is the third last-time-out winner in the field after going in at Naas last time out and a repeat of that effort should see him go well. The Elliott yard also boast an impressive 19% with their hurdlers at the track, while jockey Davy Russell is currently operating at a 31% strike-rate when riding over hurdles at this venue. It’s worth noting Elliott also runs Texard, so this one can’t be ruled out, while Quantatmental and Monus are two others that should go well.
2:40 - Racing TV Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 80-109) 2m3f RTV
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has won the last runnings and has a 19% strike-rate with their hurdlers – HELL ON EARTH
- Trainer Mark Michael McNiff has won 4 of the last 9 runnings, and has a 18% record with their hurdlers at the track – FASSBENDER
- Trainer Henry De Bromhead has a 22% record with his hurdlers at the track
- Trainer BR Hamilton has a 22% record with his hurdlers at the track
- Trainer Oliver McKiernan has a 40% record with his hurdlers at the track – CAPPUCCINO MAN
- Jockey Davy Russell has a 31% record riding over hurdles at the track – HELL ON EARTH
VERDICT: Accidental Rebel and the only CD winner in the field – Walking In Memphis – are worth a second look, but this could be another for the powerful Gordon Elliott yard – they run HELL ON EARTH. This 6 year-old ran below-par last time out but was slightly impeded that day so did have an excuse. Prior to that he ran a solid second at Fairyhouse under Davy Russell, so the fact he’s back riding has got to be a plus too. Yes, his form is a bit patchy, but this doesn’t look a great race, while the introduction of the first-time cheekpieces could also do the trick. Of the rest, the McNiff runner – FASSBENDER – is another to consider as the yard have a cracking record in this race – they won 4 of the last 9 renewals and also boast an 18% record with their hurdlers at the track.
3:10 - Randox Ulster National Handicap Chase (5yo+) 3m4½f RTV
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 5 and has an 18% record with his chasers at the track – CHEB DE KERVINIOU, GUN DIGGER, ITS ALL GUESSWORK, GENERAL PRINCIPLE, OUT SAM & POORMANS HILL
- Amaulino won the race 12 months ago
- Poormans Hill won the race in 2018
- Jockey Jamie Codd has a 43% record riding over fences at the track – OUT SAM
VERDICT: The Elliott yard have landed two of the last five renewals of the Ulster National so their runners – Cheb De Kerviniou, Gun Digger, Its All Guesswork, General Principle, Poormans Hill and Out Sam are sure to be popular. Of that lot General Principle landed the Irish National in 2018 so is no stranger to these extreme distances, but at the age of 11 isn’t getting any younger and hasn’t won a race since that 2018 success. Cheb De Kerviniou has been popular in the betting all week but is a horse that seems to be placed more often than winning – has won 3 times from 29 times over fences, but placed in the top three 13 times. Willie Mullins has Ifyoucatchmenow, who won at Punchestown last time out but if now 8lbs higher and this looks tougher – he’s only had 4 runs over fences too so that lack of experience would be a worry. With Davy Russell riding Elliott’s Its All The Guesswork then he’s another that is sure to be well-supported, but I’ll take a chance on OUT SAM (e/w) and POORMANS HILL (e/w). The first-named will be ridden by Jamie Codd, who has a decent 43% record riding over fences here. A recent third in the Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival was a solid effort – being only 18 lengths behind Tiger Roll. He’s also dropped to a mark of 128 and that should give him a reasonable chance based on old form. Poormans Hill landed this in 2018, but at just 9 years-old still has time on his side. He not really built on that win since but is only 6lbs higher this time, but has 7lb claiming jockey – Kevin Brogan – in the saddle so actually racing off a pound lower. He’s been kept fresh for this, but has gone okay off a break in the past and with proven form in this race looks worthy of an each-way interest if Elliott has worked some magic on him.
3:40 - Tote Supporting Downpatrick Racecourse Handicap Chase (5yo+ 0-102) 2m3½f RTV
- Trainer PJ Rothwell has won 2 of the last 3 runnings – SHANKLYS DAWN
- Shankley’s Dawn won this race in 2018
VERDICT: Shankley’s Dawn took this race in 2018 and the Rothwell team have also landed 2 of the last 3 runnings. However, this 9 year-old is only a reserve so we’ll have to see if he makes the final runners – if he does then he’s worth an interest. It’s a dire race with almost all the runners looking to have something to prove, so the safest option might be to leave the race alone. If you are having a bet though, then The Trigger and Capture The Drama, who at least head here off the back of fair recent runs are considered, while GOLDEN SUNSET at least won two runs ago and if running back to that level would have a chance too. He didn’t stay a longer trip last time out so the drop back to 2m3f will suit and is only 6lbs higher than that 2-length win at Down Royal back in January.
4:10 - Boardsmill Sires Maiden Hunters Chase (5yo+) 2m7½f RTV
- Trainer JTR Dreaper has a 15% record with his chasers at the track – COMPLETE SIZING
- Jockey Jamie Codd has a 43% record riding over fences at the track – COMPLETE SIZING
VERDICT: We’ve quite a few recent winners in the field – On The Sod, Getzie, Heydour, Well Bill and Longhouse Music – all command respect – especially On The Sod, who is 3-from-3 in Point-to-Points so far. However, it’s hard to get away from the Jamie Codd-ridden COMPLETE SIZING here. This 8 year-old has won 4 of his 5 Points and Codd has ridden him to success three times in the past. The Dreaper yard have a 15% record with their chasers here and a recent second last month should have him spot—on for this.
4:40 - Molson Coors (Pro/Am) Flat Race (4-7yo) 2m1½f RTV
- Trainer Gordon Elliott won the race in 2019 and has a 23% record with his NH Flat runners at the track – BALLYADAM
- Jockey P W Mullins has a 28% record riding in NH Flat races at the track – YOUSAYITBEST
VERDICT: Jockey Patrick Mullins has a great record riding in these races at the track (28%), so this mount – Yousayitbest, who was a nice winner last time out in a Point has to enter the mix. However, Jamie Codd rode him that day, but he’s decided to jump off him and ride BALLYADAM for trainer Gordon Elliott, who won this race in 2019. This 5 year-old was a solid third on rules debut in a similar race at Navan last month (Codd rode) and that form looks to set the standard here – especially with the expected improvement. Elliott also runs Fidji Emery, so this one should be noted in the betting too.