All four cards on this first Sunday in November are National Hunt cards, which for me is fantastic! The season is really starting to kick into gear with some excellent graded races on Friday and Saturday, it doesn’t stop there as we have the Cork National as the feature on Sunday. Over in the UK, Gold Cup favourite Holywell makes his seasonal reappearance.
Onto today’s selections and we start off in a two mile maiden race, Utmost Zeal was heavily backed to win on national hunt debut, however he didn’t have much in hand. However he is bred to jump and Gordon Elliot has continued his Summer form into the Winter months, so he has to be respected on debut. Given he fell on his only point to point run I’m willing to have a watching brief.
Walk to Freedom was put up by myself two weeks ago however we didn’t get much of a run as he fell at the second hurdle. Having previously run out and pulling up, there are too many letters in his form and he is not to be trusted. Walk to Freedom also looks to be Jessica Harrington second string.
The first string looks to be the Barry Geraghty ridden Modem, who makes his national hunt debut. He will be wound up for this after some nice runs on the flat and the booking of Geraghty can only be a positive. He offers some each value against what is likely to be a short favourite.
Next up is a competitive looking two and a half mile hurdle race with JP McManus owned Give Me A Break at the head of the market, he has gone up nearly twenty pounds over his last four runs which includes two wins. He has been placed well and finished third in a competitive affair at Galway Festival. He has jumped in the ratings since his last win in a minor event at Sligo and on first lunch it looks harsh from the handicapper. At around the 7/2 mark he is plenty short enough.
Abolitionist finished a good fourth in a hot Cheltenham handicap at the showcase meeting, Johnny Burke keeps the ride and should have a better chance now not out of the handicap.
Solita takes a step up in class and cannot be discounted for a shrewd placer of horses. He is clearly in good form and could go close.
However the selection has to be Followmeuptocarlow, Tom Foley ultra consistent veteran returns to hurdles on a nice mark compared to his chase form, you are guaranteed a run for your money with Paul Towend having a good relationship with this horse and finishing in the placings over 50% of the time.
Followmeuptocarlow (E/W if 6/1+)
I do like a national and after going close in the Munster National we will have another crack here in the Cork National over three mile four furlongs.
Tom Horn is the favourite and finished second behind Shanpallas, in the Munster National and fifth in 2013 Cork National. Carberry keeps the ride for his boss Noel Meade and should go close. He is priced accordingly and there is more value elsewhere.
Unoccupied is has been well supported overnight and is challenging for favouritism, however he may just need this.
Ballyfinboy, The Bishop Looney and last years winner Sword Fish need to improve but are at the right end of the weights.
The selection is for Kashline, while he will need to improve a fair bit to get involved I feel he is worth the chance. Only winning a beginners chase last time out however that form has been franked since with Indian Fairy winning in a better race. Kashline has some good form over hurdles and in novice chases also behind the likes of Morning Assembly, Bright New Dawn and Champagne Fever. He could we well treated and is worth a risk at around 16/1.