Author: Will Smith
Published: 08:14 23/01/2014
Barney Curley – love him or loathe him, you have to admire the patience, organisation and no little skill that underlined the four-pronged gamble that lit up an ordinary Wednesday.
Patience and skill is something that connections of Landenstown Pearl have shown in abundance as their mare had not seen a racecourse for 30 months, when at Warwick three weeks ago she emerged as the only danger to the very well handicapped Mudita Moment, on its first start for Venetia Williams.
Mudita Moment has since won under a penalty, albeit not as smoothly, but that can always be forgiven when turning out quickly.
With fully half a mile to run at Warwick, Landenstown Pearl had everything firmly off the bridle except the gambled-on Mudita Moment.
She is bred for stamina, so the tactical speed and fluent hurdling she showed when leading for much of the Warwick race will stand her in great stead over the extra furlong of Fakenham’s 2m 4f handicap hurdle at 2.00 on Thursday. Available at 4/1 generally, I had her down as more of a 5/2 shot.
The one drawback is the 6lb rise, but there is only one horse that strikes as being especially well handicapped in opposition – Campbonnais, who surely won’t be seen to best effect on first start for the admittedly impressive Ali Brewer, on ground that will be too soft.
The favourite is recent Exeter winner Cash Injection, though two hard races at that track in the last month will leave a mark on many a horse. While his tendency to shift right at his hurdles, particularly when tiring, will see him lose many lengths at Fakenham, the tightest of left-handed tracks.
The big race of the day is the Thyestes Chase across the Irish Sea, and if Castle Wings gets a run – probably unlikely as he is third reserve – then 20/1 would be an incredibly good bet for a horse that will love the ground and is very well treated on his best hurdle form.
In his absence, last year’s second Tarquinius is worth a few quid each-way at 22/1. He pulled a long way clear with one other rival last year, loves a slog through the mud, and has clearly been campaigned with a view to peaking on this day for one of the best target trainers on either side of the Irish Sea, Gordon Elliott.
Landenstown Pearl – 4/1 (BetVictor)
Gowran Park 3.15:
Tarquinius (each-way) – 22/1 (BetVictor)
Castle Wings (each-way) – 20/1 (Boylesports, if getting a run)