Ballinrobe – Sunday
Turk is a delight in McHale Mayo National
Having found his form again to win again last month, Young Turk can follow up in the McHale Mayo National Handicap Chase at Ballinrobe.
Formerly trained by Joseph O’Brien, the nine-year-old was having just his second start for Gordon Elliott when beating Henry De Bromhead’s Full Cry in convincing fashion at Tramore three weeks ago to record his first success in almost two years.
This represent a big step up in class, but he’s racing from the bottom of the handicap this time and with Sean O’Keeffe again taking off 3lbs, he can put it up to the likes of the De Bromhead-trained Mind’s Eye, John McConnell’s Go Another One, Matthew Smith’s Mindsmadeup and the Charles Byrnes-trained Doctor Duffy.
Elliott can also win the McHale Tiger Roll Beginners Chase with Aforementioned, the mount of Keith Donoghue. He has had four starts over fences and while his run behind Jerandme has been well advertised since, there was also loads to like about his effort behind Doctor Duffy at Kilbeggan a month ago.
O’Keeffe might well go into his Mayo National ride with a couple of winners under his belt. He looks to have the leading chance in the opening McHale Fusion 3 Range Mares Maiden Hurdle on the Paul Nolan-trained Valentina Girl which was a Naas bumper winner last November. She was a moderate third to Colreevy over hurdles at Limerick last Christmas and can win on her first start since then.
O’Keeffe must also have a big shout on the Jessica Harrington-trained Heliers Bay in the McHale Pro Glide Mower Range Handicap Hurdle. She overcame an eight-month absence to win over two miles here early last month and if the ground dried out, she could possibly make light of an 9lbs hike in the ratings.
Buttons And Bows is another that would appreciate good ground and if conditions improve she must be a player in the McHale Mayo Irish EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle for Pat Flynn and Mark Walsh. The six-year-old ran well behind Ardamir and Morga here two weeks ago and should be better again over this longer trip.
Another open heat is likely to be the McHale Orbital Round Bale Wrapper Handicap Hurdle where top-weight Rippon Lodge can win for John Ryan and Danny Mullins. Having run well at Kilbeggan at the beginning of last month, he went close again over this course and distance subsequently and is easily excused his latest effort on rain sodden ground at Tipperary.
Five familiar names line up for the McHale C4 Straw Blower & Silage Feeder Chase and while relatively inexperienced over the larger obstacles, the Charles Byrnes-trainedThosedaysaregone is the choice. He won on his only previous start over fences at Limerick on St Patrick’s Day 2019 but has enjoyed a few big pay days over hurdles since, winning the €150,000 Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival in February and finishing third in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Selections: 2.05 Valentina Lady; 2.35 Heliers Bay; 3.10 Buttons And Bows; 3.45 Rippon lodge; 4.15 Thosedaysaregone; 4.45 Young Turk (NAP); 5.15 Aforementioned.